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Boston Public Library 

Do not write in this book or mark it with pen or 
pencil. Penalties for so doing are imposed by the 
Revised Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

This book was issued to the borrower on the date 
last stamped below. 

P L. FORM MO. *n«- in »• i» liav 







(" Lanoe Falconer ") 













First Published in 1915 


In completing this memoir, my thanks are due 
first to Mrs. Harry Hawker who, besides placing 
all her sister's hitherto unopened papers at my 
disposal, has constantly helped me by supply- 
ing information and recollections which no one 
else could have furnished. I am also indebted 
to Mrs. Lee- White, Mrs. Walker, Lady Ports- 
mouth, and Lady Rosamond Christie for the 
same kind of help. I owe thanks to Lady. 
Portsmouth, Mrs. Birch, and Mr. Gerald Vernon 
Wallop for help with illustrations, to Mr. 
Henry Houndle for looking over the memoir 
on behalf of Miss Hawker's family, to all those 
who have sanctioned the inclusion of letters, 
and, not least, to Mr. Bertram Christian of 
Messrs. Nisbet and Co. for reading proofs and 
giving advice on various points. A small 
portion of the material has already appeared in 
the Cornhill Magazine, for which I desire to 
make due acknowledgment. 




I.. Early Life ..... 
II. Life at Hurstbourne Priors 

III. The "Midge" .... 

IV. Intellectual Influences, 1880-1885 
V. Society, High and Low, 1886-1887 

VI. Character Studies 
VII. " Mademoiselle Ixe " . 
VIII. "Cecilia de Noel" 
IX. " The Hotel d'Angleterre " 
X. Echoes of " Mlle. Ixe," 1891-1892 
XI. Notes and Comments, 1893-1894. 
XII. How to Write a Short Story . 

XIII. Thought Notes, 1894-1898, 1898-1900 

XIV. Her Mother's Death, 1901 
XV. Bereavement .... 

XVI. Middle Age, 1902-1903 

XVII. Switzerland 

XVIII. Last Notes 





















Marie Hawker 

Colonel Peter Hawker . 
Longparish House .... 

The Garden 

Private Theatricals at Hurstbourne 
Entrance to the Haunted House . 

Mrs. Fennell 

The Water Meadows 










The announcement of Lanoe Falconer's death 
came with something of a shock to those who 
had looked upon her little books as among the 
best of the literary work of the 'nineties, and 
who had continued dimly to hope that they 
might be followed by others, as solid in work- 
manship, as distinguished in style, and as de- 
lightfully entertaining. 

Was the rest to be silence ? Were we never 
to know anything further of a mind whose 
promise seemed even richer than its perform- 
ance ? 

Among those who waited expectantly for 
some further knowledge was the writer of this 
memoir, and at length inquiries were made as to 
whether any could be hoped for. The answer 
came when Lanoe Falconer's sister placed in 
her hands a weighty packet of notebooks and 
diaries which had never been disturbed since 



their author tied them up a few weeks before 
her death. They are written in various forms : 
in thick manuscript books, in children's copy- 
books, on little quires of note-paper stitched 
together, in penny account books. With 
them, folded in a faded blue silk bag which 
might have represented the last relics of the 
celebrated "blue silk skirt," hereinafter men- 
tioned, were such letters as she had from time 
to time received from notable persons. All 
were carefully arranged and dated and range 
over many years. 

The task of opening and examining these was 
a pathetic and a responsible one, and it soon 
became evident that they contained much that 
one would not willingly suffer to perish. To 
the copious selections which have been made 
have been added the loving and vivid recollec- 
tions of relatives and friends. By degrees 
a personality has been built up, speaking as 
much as possible in its own words ; speaking 
with a faith, a courage, a charm which it is 
confidently believed will appeal to all those 
who can recognise a rare nature, victorious 
over adverse circumstances, and filled with 
love for its fellow-creatures. 

The history of Lanoe Falconer's family has 


been dwelt upon rather circumstantially, be- 
cause on both sides heredity seems to have 
played a sufficiently remarkable part, and we 
are able to trace in rather a striking fashion 
the sources from which the subject of our 
memoir drew her gifts both of intellect and of 

The real name of the author of Mademoiselle 
Ixe was Mary Elizabeth Hawker. She came 
of a family of which the menfolk had been 
soldiers since a regular army first arose in 
England, in the reign of Elizabeth. In the 
days of Queen Anne, a Peter Hawker became 
Governor of Portsmouth, and doing well for 
himself, bought the estate of Longparish, near 
Whitchurch, in the county of Hampshire. 
His descendants have named him Peter the 
First, and the estate is now in the possession 
of a seventh Peter Hawker. Marie Hawker's 
grandfather was the well-known Colonel Peter 
Hawker who fought in the Peninsular War, 
and whose Instructions to Young Sportsmen 
has been through many editions. It is still 
read by those who hunt and shoot for the 
wisdom it contains, and by others for its 
style and literary quality. Colonel Hawker 


is able to endow his pages with that charm 
which, in spite of his headstrong and selfish 
nature, seems to have belonged to a vigorous, 
audacious personality. Longparish House, 
where he lived for many years, is a long white 
house, restored and partly rebuilt in the 
eighteenth century, with good-sized rooms, 
cheerful and liveable, a graceful garden, pavi- 
lion, and lawns sloping down to the river 
Test. The oak panelling which once lined 
the walls within has been discarded, after the 
fashion of a Victorian age, in favour of French 
papers, but is still retained in one small room, 
into the panels of which have been set a 
number of family portraits. Here are Governor 
Hawker in his full-bottomed wig, the beautiful 
Arethusa Rvves, an heiress who married a 
later Peter, and others in powder and silk 
coats, or uniforms with high stocks. Colonel 
Hawker's own portrait in the uniform of a 
colonel of Yeomanry still hangs in the entrance- 
hall. His town-house was in Dorset Square, 
where his daughters. Mary and Sophy, early 
in the nineteenth century, received their edu- 
cation, and took walks in Regent's Park, their 
footman, Charles Heath, carrying their books 
and workbags and Les Graces. 


Their only brother Lanoe, named after a 
favourite brother officer of Colonel Hawker's, 
born in 1809, was a very different sort of being 
from his father. Of a gentle and affectionate 
nature, neglected in his boyhood, he grew up 
rather subdued and quiet. His health was not 
very strong, and he was kept on a meagre 
allowance by his father, who was a wild, 
extravagant man, and had married a second 
time, not over happily. Lanoe Hawker was 
not clever, but is said to have been extra- 
ordinarily lovable, and his loyalty to his 
brilliant father prevented his making any 
decided assertion of his own claims. He 
joined the 74th Highlanders, and in 1837, 
when stationed at Stirling, he met Elizabeth 
Fraser, with whom an engagement was formed 
which was to last for ten years. 

Miss Fraser, at this time a girl of eighteen, 
was of a character and temperament the very 
opposite of her lover. She came of a spirited 
Highland family, of which she has left us 
a racy account. Her grandfather Fraser, a 
doctor or lawver, married Miss Elizabeth 
Forrester of Frew, greatly to the displeasure 
of her familv. On her death, at the birth of 
her second child, he took to wife a beautiful, 


worthless woman of gipsy blood, who ill-used 
the little son. About 1802 the judges held 
their Assize in Stirling, and dined at the 
Saracen's Head. Mrs. Mason, the landlady, 
busy superintending the dinner, looked out 
and cried to a group of boys waiting to see 
the judge's procession, " Whilk o' you bairns 
can rin to the King's Park Farm and fetch 
me some cream ? If you're back before dinner 
I'll gie ye a saxpence." Soon after she saw 
the little volunteer, aged seven, standing near 
the table and staring at all the good things. 
Giving the sixpence she discovered that he 
was the child of David Fraser, and would not 
go home because his stepmother had told him 
not to come till he had some money to bring, 
and he did not choose to bring her money. 
He looked forward soon to be able to support 
himself (at seven!), because the groom at this 
hotel had said he would " gie him wark " next 
week, polishing stirrups, when the Yeomanry 
came, and promised him he should sleep in the 
hayloft. Mrs. Mason, remembering his mother, 
the beautiful, well-born Elizabeth Forrester, 
was much touched, and said he should not 
sleep in the hay, but in a little room. 

Next day Mrs. Mason went to see Laird 


Fraser, and entreated him " to have some 
mercy on his son." Fraser confessed that he 
was under the dominion of his wife, whom he 
hated when absent, but loved when present, 
declaring at last that he was " in the thrall of 
the Devil, and could not get free." 

Young Fraser was brought up and educated 
by the Masons. His mother's money had been 
secured to him, and he chose to be a printer. 
He went to London to make his fortune, but 
not succeeding, he prepared to start home- 
wards. On his last night in London he went to 
the theatre, having in his pocket just enough 
money for his journey. Waking the next 
morning in the room he shared with a gentle- 
man who had gone to bed dead drunk, he 
found that his pocket had been picked. " Good 
God ! what shall I do ? " he cried aloud. 
A voice from the other bed answered, " Do ? 
Get me a glass of brandy as fast as you can." 

This being accomplished, the stranger said, 
" And now, my young friend, what is the 
matter with you ? " He turned out to be 
the master of a ship going north, and took 
him to within easy reach of his own home. 

At the age of twenty- one Fraser married 
Jean, daughter of Robert Dick, a manu- 


facturer, and bought a paper. Shortly after, 
discovering that it was on what he considered 
the wrong (i.e. the Tory) side in politics, he 
bought another in Glasgow, and sent off his 
machinery to the Glasgow office. The carrier 
arriving at the office found the sheriff's officers 
in possession, come to take up the editor of 
the paper for publishing the speech of a 
Whig member in the House of Commons. 
For publishing this speech several editors had 
to fly the country, but the carrier, having 
the sense to say nothing, and to return with 
the machinery, Fraser was not implicated. 
But he had sold his Stirling paper, and had 
nothing to look to, so he returned to London, 
and for a time edited The Literary Review. 
His wife, however, became ill and homesick, 
whereupon he went back to Scotland, and 
started another paper at Paisley. This came 
to grief during the bad times of 1825, so that 
he went back to Stirling, where his mother- 
in-law lived, and kept a day-school, apparently 
with some success. A story is told of his 
attending the trial of a half-witted lad of 
twenty, known as Scatters, who was found 
guilty of the murder of an old woman in her 
cottage, and condemned to be hanged. As 


her money had been taken, and none had been 
found upon him, it was supposed he had been 
made a tool of. Fraser visited him in prison, 
and the lad clinging to him to the last, be- 
sought him to go with him to the scaffold. 
On the way to execution it was the custom 
to stop the procession at the court-house for 
prayer. The prisoner was asked to choose the 
psalm, and chose " I have no pleasure in the 
death of the wicked, saith the Lord." The 
whole scene had such an effect on Fraser's nerves 
that he is said never to have recovered from it. 

Elizabeth Fraser has also left some details 
of the Dick genealogy, which are not a little 
significant. The first ancestor who can be 
traced was left a widow with two young sons. 
One of these became a manufacturer, and was 
married the same day as George III to Lizzie 
Reid, a maitresse femme. Their eldest son, 
born on the same day as George IV, ought to 
have been called George, after his own grand- 
father, but a donation having been offered to 
all children born on that day and christened 
George, Mrs. Lizzie, for fear she should be 
supposed to have accepted this, called her 
child John, a great breach of family etiquette 
in those days. She had four sons and one 


daughter. The sons she managed entirely, but 
the daughter having displeased her one day, 
she said to her husband, "John Dick, correct 
your daughter. I'll manage my sons myself." 

Her brothers were very clever men, and all 
free-thinkers. Her father was found dead in a 
summer-house in the garden at the age of a 
hundred and four. His Bible was lying at 
some distance, and the legend obtained that 
he had fallen asleep, that the Devil had carried 
off the Bible, and the fairies had pinched him 
to death. 

John Dick, Lizzie Reid's eldest son, was nick- 
named Talleyrand, because he was so "pawkie." 
His brother Robert's daughter married John 
Fraser, Marie Hawker's grandfather. 

Bothwell Ha', Stirling, where Elizabeth 
Fraser was living at the time of her marriage, 
had been a great house, but was then let in 
flats. Her mother rented two floors — a long 
passage with dining-room and drawing-room, 
and kitchens and bedrooms above. She had 
one servant, Marget Drummond, who was 
glad when the servant she succeeded left the 
neighbourhood, because she could not boast in 
her presence of the French polished furniture — 
which did not exist. 


{From a portrait at Longparish House) 


At length in 1847, after waiting for ten 
years, Lanoe Hawker and Elizabeth Fraser 
were married. She was twenty-eight years 
old — a vigorous young woman, not tall, but 
with a full figure and an erect and graceful 
carriage. Her complexion was beautiful, white 
and carnation. She was clever and well-read ; 
one of those creatures who give a zest to life, 
full of spirit and joie de vivre. 

For the first six years of their married life 
Mr. and Mrs. Lanoe Hawker lived at Inverary, 
a little shooting lodge in Aberdeenshire. Here 
in 1848 their eldest child, Mary Elizabeth, the 
subject of this memoir, was born. She was 
followed by a son, who died in infancy, and in 
1852 by another son, Peter James Duff. 

In 1854 Colonel Peter Hawker died, and the 
family travelled down to Hampshire to take 
possession of Longparish House. 

Marie at this time was a sensitive, clever 
little child, of a quick, impatient temper. 
Her mother told with amusement how, when 
she was but eighteen months old, another 
tiny child seized her toys, and how Marie, 
with much promptitude and decision, adminis- 
tered a smart slap to the invader. She was 
easily alarmed by ugly sights. She never 


forgot the horror inspired, while she was still 
a baby, by the bandaged foot of one of the 
villagers, or by a hideous indiarubber face 
brought her as a toy. 

On the journey down to England the six- 
year-old child spent most of her time read- 
ing. No attempt had been made to teach her, 
but she had picked up reading with a little 
help. She was an intelligent little girl, and 
her father was devoted to and proud of her. 
Even as a child she was severe upon herself 
for a bit of mischief into which she had been 
betrayed, when the sweets were waiting out- 
side the dining-room door, and she, pleased with 
the transparent look of a jelly, dug a row of 
holes in it with her finger. u It was such 
stupid mischief," she said. 

The life at Longparish was of short dura- 
tion. Already, before leaving Scotland, Lanoe 
Hawker had shown signs of consumption, and 
two years later was sent to Madeira. His 
wife accompanied him, leaving the children, 
to whom a second daughter had been added, 
in charge of her faithful Scotch nurse MacLean, 
at Longparish House. Lanoe died in April 
1857. His broken-hearted widow came home 
alone, and long after, tells her daughter, of all 


that she, a child of nine years old, became to 
her as a companion and consoler. 

A year after her husband's death Mrs. 
Hawker settled in London, in Bentinck Street, 
where she spent her winters, going for the 
summer to Scotland, to a house she had built 
near Bridge of Allan, while Longparish House 
was let for some years. An older cousin de- 
scribes them at this time as " three delightful 
children " — Marie, very tall for her ten years, 
with a long slender throat, hair light brown 
with a glint of gold, parted and hanging straight 
down, " like a picture of the Madonna." She 
had a beautifully shaped head, with, as the 
doctor told her mother, all the best bumps of 

The next five years were very happy ones. 
Marie and her mother were inseparable. Mrs. 
Hawker read with her, explained things, and 
talked to her on every sort of subject, much 
as she might have done to an older person. 
Her education was carried on at one small- 
school or another, sometimes in London, some- 
times under a Presbyterian minister, with a 
short interval at Queen's College. For nearly 
a year she worked with the Miss Woodmans, 
clever, strict teachers, with whom she did well. 


Many years after Marie called on her old mis- 
tress. " Well," said Miss Woodman, " so Julie 
and Peter are married, and what do you do ? " 
Marie explained that she was the writer of 
Mademoiselle Icce. " You write like that ! " 
exclaimed the old lady, much moved and with 
tears coming into her eyes. " I knew it years 
ago; I told them you would ! " 

With other young cousins who lived near 
them in London, the little Hawkers carried 
on all sorts of games, and especially delighted 
in acting charades. Marie is described as the 
life of the party, settling the word, casting the 
parts, and acting admirably herself. Full of 
fun, a charming companion, very good-tem- 
pered. " I never saw her anything but patient 
and good-tempered," says her cousin. " She 
took everything in good part." 

She was about thirteen when she upset the 
gravity of a whole pewful of cousins at a 
missionary meeting by an impersonation 
(carried out with a black kid glove draped 
with a handkerchief) of what even the youngest 
of the party recognised at a glance as one of 
the converted heathen. His gratification at 
any words of praise, his offended air at the 
description of the previous state of his tribe, 


his intense interest in the progress of the col- 
lection, and his extreme displeasure at the 
meagre contribution of a grown-up but very- 
young and deeply ashamed cousin, who was 
in charge of the party, needed no explanation 
in words. 

When the cousins spent holidays and half- 
holidays together, a favourite game was " en- 
gaging servants." Marie coming for a cook's 
place would give wonderful descriptions of the 
puddings she could make, and the number of 
eggs required. As a nurse she expounded 
startling ways of treating the children, and 
" putting down " the nursemaid, and kept her 
audience in shrieks of laughter, while she her- 
self was perfectly grave. The old Highland 
nurse derived a morbid pleasure from playing 
on the feelings of the two younger children 
by minutely describing her grave, to which 
Peter was to lead his bride, richly attired in 
pink silk and holding a white-fringed parasol, 
and allude in moving terms to his " dear old 
nurse." Marie, who had great common sense 
and a dislike to sentimentality, when she found 
the children bathed in tears, felt that the 
nonsense ought to be stopped, and put an end 
to it by adding such comic details that even 


Peter had to laugh, and nurse's reproach that 
Marie was " dancing on her grave " was 
answered by a pas seul on the hearthrug. 

When Nurse MacLean married, Mrs. Hawker 
built a cottage for her at Bridge of Allan as a 
wedding present. All the young people wrote 
poems on the occasion, Marie's taking the first 
prize ; and, about this time, when she was 
thirteen, she wrote a poem called "Cloud 
Mountains/' which appeared in Chambers's 
Journal. She began to write versified fairy 
plays to be acted at Christmas, and through- 
out the year the children acted incessantly ; 
made-up plays, scenes out of plays and operas 
seen by the elder ones, bits from Shakespeare 
or from the Colleen Bawn. 

She formed an intimacy with a brother and 
sister, Charlie and Janie Gordon. Janie Gordon 
was two years her elder, intelligent, a great 
reader of good literature, and when circum- 
stances separated them they wrote one another 
long letters full of discussions. The brother was 
an odd, unbalanced boy, witty, ill-tempered, 
and sarcastic. He and Marie would discuss, 
quarrel, and argue by the hour, but though 
their love of talk and their appreciation of one 
another's wit drew them together, and she had 


no other companion of the same calibre, they 
were not very sympathetic au fond. Marie had 
a vein of strong and sturdy common sense, 
a power of seeing the ridiculous side of the 
emotional, which steadied all her views, but 
which repelled the boy, who in his turn in- 
curred her half-contemptuous amusement by 
his habit of throwing himself into violent ex- 
tremes of opinion. He afterwards joined the 
Church of Rome and became a member of 
a very austere religious order, and has been 
entirely lost sight of. 

Soon after the conclusion of her fourteenth 
year Marie Hawker's whole life was changed, 
by the advent of the man who one can scarcely 
forbear from describing as her evil genius, 
Mrs. Hawker met Mr. Herbert Fennell in 
London. He visited her in Bentinck Street, 
did his utmost to make himself acceptable to 
her children, followed them to Scotland, and 
made a proposal of marriage. Mrs. Hawker 
at first refused to listen to him. Her friends 
were very much against the idea, and perhaps 
made too strenuous an opposition. Elizabeth 
Hawker had one of those natures always prone 
to champion the abused ; she thought he had 

not been done justice to. He persuaded her of 



the advantage it would be to her children to 
have an adviser and protector. He was a 
handsome man, tall and dark, with a long, 
pointed black moustache and hard black eyes, 
but though he was sincerely in love it cannot 
be doubted that it was an unsuitable match. 
Mr. Fennell, the son of a schoolmaster, as he 
appeared to the eyes of her friends, was below 
her in the social scale, without fortune, some- 
thing of an adventurer. He is described as 
a man of no mentality; and the handsome, 
genial woman with her comfortable income was 
looked on as the prey of specious good looks 
and a flattering tongue. Before accepting 
him, however, Mrs. Hawker took her eldest 
girl into her confidence, telling her that though 
she thought the marriage would be for her 
own happiness, she would not proceed with it 
if Marie opposed it. The latter declared at 
once that she wished her mother to do what- 
ever would make her happiest, and the matter 
was settled. Unluckily, Mrs. Hawker, de- 
lighted with what she thought her child's 
generous and unselfish behaviour, made the 
mistake of confiding it to her new husband. 
Mr. Fennell, who was an extremely vain man, 
was very much offended at the idea of a child 


having been in any way the arbiter of his 
destiny, and his resentment laid the founda- 
tion of a dislike to his step-daughter which was 
never overcome. 

In the spring of 1863 the couple were married, 
and went off for a honeymoon of some months, 
leaving their children at Longparish House, 
which happened just then to be unlet, in the 
companionship of a young cousin, to whom 
they were much attached. (The same, indeed, 
who had been so shocked by the vagaries of 
the converted heathen, and who has supplied 
many of the details of their childhood.) The 
old servant, Charles Heath, who had been 
footman to their aunts, now lived in a pretty 
cottage at the entrance gates. In front of it 
are three trees planted by the three children 
in their father's lifetime, and the garden at 
the back was full of gooseberry trees from which 
they ate as many as they liked, though the 
three best bushes were to be kept for the special 
delectation of the young squire. 

Constant excursions were made in a quaint, 
old-fashioned village cart, drawn by a strong 
brown pony which never got tired. Heath was 
always in charge, and the first time they drove 
into Winchester, twelve miles away, he pointed 


out the barracks " where the Major first put 
on his regimentals," with his eyes full of tears, 
and we may divine with what indignation in 
his heart at the thought of the usurper. 

Marie and her cousin shared the same room, 
and when they woke early Marie would tell 
delightful stories, which she invented as she 
went on. " Cousin Ellen ' would recite pas- 
sages from Shakespeare and Gray's " Elegy," 
and Marie, repeating them after her, soon 
learnt all by heart. She taught herself French 
at this time, and spent a great deal of time 
sketching the picturesque cottages. 

Towards the end of the summer the married 
couple joined them. One of the first things 
Mr. Fennell had done was to advise his wife 
to give up the Scotch home and to go abroad 
for some time, so that soon after the whole 
party started for France. Some years were 
spent in Normandy and Brittany, at small, 
inexpensive towns with homely inns off the 
beaten track. The English children indulged 
in long walks over hill and dale in the summers 
and autumns. Marie speaks afterwards of the 
delightful rambles through that fruitful Nor- 
man land, blooming with gardens and orchards 
and woodland, and watered by bright streams 


gliding smoothly on, or foaming impetuously- 
past the scattered mills and homesteads. 
" The air grew cooler as we wandered on ; 
the glowing pink above us faded into grey ; 
sometimes the perfumed darkness gathered, 
before we returned, tired and hungry, to the 
' Cheval Blanc,' too tired to be captious about 
the unadorned ugliness of our dining-room, 
ill-lighted by two flickering candles, hungry 
enough to sup with relish on artichokes, eggs, 
freshly made galettes, and new milk served in 
an earthenware terrine about the size of an 
ordinary English footbath." 

The Duchess, owner of the Park, kindly 
allowed the English visitors to wander in it 
at will with the French governess, whose quon- 
dam pupil the Duke's granddaughter had 
been, and occasionally they lunched at the 
chateau, a huge, barrack-like building in which 
the whole population of the little town might 
easily have been lodged. The old Duchess had 
had a strange history. Her parents were 
guillotined during the French Revolution, and 
she herself, an infant of three or four, stood 
behind them on the scaffold, awaiting the same 
fate, when a bourreau, moved by a sudden 
impulse of pity, snatched her up and tossed 


her into the heaving crowd below. She was 
picked up by one of her own class who had 
escaped the popular fury, and who, when he 
opened the locket that hung round the child's 
neck, recognised the portrait of his sister, and 
perceived that it was his own niece whom fate 
had thus strangely thrust into his arms. 

Marie's letters home at this time are de- 
scribed as most graphic and entertaining. She 
taught herself German while in France with 
a French- German grammar, and so thoroughly 
that when the family arrived in Prussia she 
was very quickly able to talk the language. 
A few years later they went to live at Aix-la- 
Chapelle, where they had a country villa, 
with a sheet of water and a boat. The water 
had a curious red tinge, and the pond was full 
of enormous frogs which made a deafening 
noise. Marie made up wonderful fairy tales 
about them. Sometimes the frogs turned at 
night into men who robbed and murdered 
travellers, whose bodies, thrown into the water, 
accounted for its dreadful colour ; sometimes 
they were human beings who had been be- 

Whilst at Aix, an uncle, another Colonel 
Hawker, and Peter, who had joined the Royal 





»— < 





Navy and had got his leave, were added to 
the party, which was further augmented by 
a brother of Mr. Fennell with his wife and 
daughter, and a large and merry party amused 
themselves in all sorts of ways, shot at marks, 
went for picnics, or walked on stilts. Peter 
arrived in his naval cadet's uniform, with a 
dirk at his side, his pride in which was shared 
by his sisters. One day he was surrounded by 
a crowd of some twenty little gamins, in whom 
he had apparently failed to inspire respect, 
shouting, " Rosbif-boule-dogue ! " Peter, in- 
dignant at the insult to the Queen's uniform, 
at length drew his dirk and made for them, 
scattering them in all directions. The chil- 
dren returned home much excited, but their 
elders were less gratified. His mother made 
the boy promise never to unsheath his weapon 
again, under any circumstances whatsoever, 
telling him it might cause dreadful trouble and 
even bring on a war between the two countries. 
The whole party went to stay at a tiny village 
in the hills, only reached by diligence, where 
they had to drink beer for breakfast, the water 
being undrinkable, and to eat black bread, 
and where they were a source of boundless 
interest to the villagers. 


All this time Marie received very little 
education, or only such as a series of gover- 
nesses, half-educated themselves, could give. 
But she read French and German incessantly, 
and studied Italian with a German-Italian 
grammar. When she was nineteen the party 
went to Nantes, and here she met a very 
accomplished musician and composer, an old 
M. Gervais, who admired her playing very 
much, encouraged and helped her, and per- 
suaded her mother to give her some really 
good lessons. From this time she worked 
seriously at music, and M. Gervais dedicated 
some of his compositions to " Miss Hawker 
of Longparish." The summer of 1867 was 
spent within easy reach of Paris, where the 
exhibitions and good music were the source of 
much enjoyment. In 1868 they returned to 
England, where Longparish House had again 
been let for a term of years. 



The village of Hurstbourne Priors in which 
Mr. and Mrs. Fennell settled on their return 
from abroad lies between Whitchurch and 
Andover, two miles from the first and four 
from the last. The great park of Hurstbourne, 
the seat of the Earls of Portsmouth, occupies 
many miles of space in the valley, and the 
village nestles in true English fashion on its 
confines. In Hampshire Vignettes Marie writes 
of its charm, of its crystalline air and untar- 
nished green, of the silence broken only by 
soft pastoral noises : 

" Few places ever breathed such ineffable 
repose as this shallow, low-brimmed valley, 
fed by streams ' glassy-cool and translucent.' 
These waters and the goodly trees it nourished 
are all it had to boast of. The connoisseur of 
scenery might bewail the absence of bold out- 
line and wide outlook, but perhaps for that 
very reason did the victim of town-fever love 



it and steep himself with rapture in its sleepy 
calm. c Peace ' was the perpetual lullaby of 
this lowly land, which even the winter winds 
visited not too roughly, and summer half 
buried in luxuriant bloom." 

The valley is lovely at all times of the year. 
The deep-bosomed woods clothe the low, un- 
dulating hills on either hand, the brilliant greens 
of beech and lime darken into the rich gloom 
of summer, flame into orange and crimson in 
the dying fall, and even in winter are blended 
by the damp into soft purples and ethereal 
greys. After rain, high skies and splendid 
clouds stand out behind the tall clumps of elm 
trees, grey aspens and poplars mark the course 
of the stream, " flowing so softly, that scarcely 
it seems to be flowing," spreading out in glassy 
sheets in which all the surroundings are re- 
flected, and suddenly, under a mass of dark 
foliage, tumbling down in a miniature cataract 
flashing through the darkness, only to resume 
its placid course a little farther down, through 
the wide meadows in which the water-courses 
" shine like spears." Behind the woods rise 
the first folds of the downs, which stretch away 
on all sides, and from which the fine air floods 


the valley and counteracts the velvet softness 
of the misty atmosphere. The little church 
was restored and the tower rebuilt just after 
Marie came back. It is of the picturesque 
order of the 'seventies, the old windows and 
porch having been made use of. The great 
house upon the hill, a mile away, looks down 
a glade. For many years it stood, a great 
white building, in the Italian style, but it was 
burnt down in 1883, and a mansion of red 
brick and timber has been erected in its stead. 
On the hillside across the valley is a stretch of 
common bounded by the Cocklelorum woods, 
so named by the peasants to commemorate the 
"High Cocklelorum" pretensions of a former 
Lord Portsmouth in engrossing the common 
lands in his park. 

On the first slopes of the valley are the 
thatched cottages of the villagers, every garden 
gay with flowers, and here too are one or two 
small " gentlemen's houses." That which the 
Fennells took, and which they distinguished 
by the name of " The Garden," was one of 
those small residences in which there always 
seems plenty of room. It has a large, com- 
fortable drawing-room, with two windows, and 
a glass door opening on the garden front, a 


dining-room, in which they, on one occasion at 
least, dined sixteen, a " den " for Mr. Fennell, 
seven or eight bedrooms, and servants' rooms. 

" The little house itself," writes Marie in 
her diary, " stood on a broad gravel terrace. 
From this the lawn declined at first steeply, 
then more gradually, to the ivy-covered wall 
that separates us from the dusty village road. 
The graceful lines of the sloping sward were 
traced on either side by flower borders, and 
were prolonged and finished in the arabesque 
curves of the slope. To the right such trees 
as firs and ashes lifted a wing of protecting 
leafage between us and the outer world. 

" Care and taste slowly fashioned and finished 
this tiny garden into a work of art. In summer 
it sparkled as if sown with jewels, so vivid 
against the rich green of sward and bough 
shone out the flaming geraniums, the garlands 
of many-coloured roses, the clematis pale or 

"Beyond, an even expanse of meadow; be- 
sprinkled with groups of gigantic elms and 
limes ; four limes, their trunks growing close 
together, their branches intertwining to make 
one entire and perfect tree, compact, sym- 


In a good-sized vegetable garden adjoining, 
Mr. Fennell put up an imposing range of hot- 
houses, and devoted himself with great success 
to the culture of peaches, grapes, and nec- 

Peter Hawker made Hurstbourne Priors his 
headquarters whenever he was not at sea, and 
after he came of age, left the Navy and devoted 
himself, as his own agent, to farming and to 
looking after his estate. Longparish House, 
which was distant about a mile, had been let 
to Mr. and Mrs. Harris, young people with 
small children. Besides these neighbours, with 
whom Sunday afternoon was often spent, there 
were the Birches at Drayton Park, whose 
grown-up sons, full of fun and spirits, were soon 
hand and glove with the young Hawkers, Mr. 
and Mrs. Iremonger, he a son of the Iremongers 
of Whewell Priory, a family with which the 
Hawkers had been connected for many genera- 
tions. A few quaint, old-fashioned neighbours 
lingered round Longparish, all of whom appre- 
ciated Marie. Most important of all in its 
bearing on her daily life was the neighbour- 
hood of Hurstbourne Park. No one who recalls 
the wide sympathies, the enthusiastic outlook 
upon life which distinguished Eveline, Lady 


Portsmouth, will say that her friendship was 
a superficial factor in a young girl's education. 
We say friendship advisedly, for Lady Ports- 
mouth had a special gift and attraction for 
young people. In a large country house party 
she would abandon the dowagers and come to 
sit among the girls, talking to them on equal 
terms, drawing them out, inquiring into their 
thoughts and ambitions, discussing, inspiring. 
Something of her boundless sympathy, her 
high courage and kindness, lives for us in 
Cecilia de Noel. With Lady Portsmouth and 
her daughters Marie became on intimate terms, 
but in the second, Lady Camilla Wallop (after 
wards Lady Camilla Gurdon), she found her 
dearest and most congenial friend, and as time 
went on the two girls were drawn into an ever 
closer companionship. 

Quietly as Marie lived, she saw English 
society at its best, and the shades of difference 
with which she draws the country lady, the 
vicar's wife, or the fashionable butterfly, are 
the fruits of experience imbibed at first-hand. 

Those who visited "The Garden," thirty-five 
or forty years ago, have a vivid recollection 
of a delightful party, of a hostess the very 
essence of kindness and warmth, of the wel- 


come given and the entertainment afforded 
by the party of high-spirited young people, 
generally reinforced by friends or cousins 
staying in the house, of talk brilliant and ori- 
ginal beyond the average. Tea was a most 
popular rendezvous, whether spread in the 
warm, firelit drawing-room in winter, or in 
summer on the wide, shady terrace which 
ran along the front of the house. 

Though money was never plentiful, the com- 
fortable household was free from pecuniary 
worries, and had not to think too closely of 
ways and means. There were always one or 
two horses belonging to themselves or to their 
brother for riding and driving. Marie rode 
well and gracefully, and it was her favourite 
amusement in these years. She was also very 
fond of walking, and, with her sister, took 
long walks in the lanes and on the downs, the 
two holding animated arguments, both talk- 
ing eagerly, differing on every possible subject. 
Though so fond of discussion, Marie had the 
art of seeking the truth without losing her 
temper or " talking to win." The lifelong 
bond of affection which united the sisters dates 
from the confirmation of the younger on the 
return from abroad, when her preparation, 


ostensibly carried on by the curate, was really 
Marie's task. For two years Marie became her 
sister's teacher. She neither liked teaching nor 
taught well, but it was easy to lure her from 
long screeds of names and dates to talk over 
literary matters. Her sister, by her own 
account " a well-dispositioned but spoilt 
child," soon acquired great admiration for 
Marie's views, and " for herself, deep love and 
respect." It says much for the connection 
between the young girl in her early twenties 
and the child of thirteen or fourteen that the 
latter, looking back to those days, cannot 
remember a cross or impatient word on either 

On one occasion Miss Hawker asked her 
little sister, with that simplicity with which 
she took for granted that no one would be 
unwilling to try to realise and acknowledge 
their faults and failings, whether she thought 
she really was unusually stupid for her age. 
The little girl, who knew that she appeared 
stupid, but had never looked at her lesson, 
and was trying to get on by dodging and 
prompting Marie to ask leading questions, was 
compelled to answer an honest question with 
equal honesty. Though such a shrewd ob- 


server, the elder often puzzled and amused her 
more sceptical younger sister by taking people 
at their own valuation. Some such dialogue 
as this would take place : 

M. That Mrs. Brown who was staying at 

has more strength of character than one 

would suppose ; nothing alarms her. She does 
not know what fear is. 

J. I don't believe it. 

M. Oh, but she told me so herself. 

J. (silently) ! ! ! ! 

Those who knew Marie Hawker at this time 
recollect her as a unique and charming per- 
sonality, a creature running over with fun and 
spirits. Her figure, which afterwards stooped 
from ill-health, was upright and graceful. Her 
hair was soft and of a rich shade of auburn, 
the true colour, her skin white ; her eyes were 
great short-sighted, grey eyes, full of gleams 
of light. A very striking trait was her 
wonderful smile; beginning in her eyes, it 
lit up and irradiated her whole face, and 
those who delighted in her humour waited for 
the quaint or entertaining or irresistibly droll 
remark which was sure to follow. Beautiful 
teeth, strong, white, and regular, were her 

one small vanity, and the consciousness of 



their perfection seemed to give confidence to 
her laugh. Her hands, too, were beautiful, 
and she used them eloquently when at her 
ease, with little gestures caught from having 
lived for so many years among foreigners. 
Her speaking face seemed to express her 
thoughts before her soft, sympathetic voice 
uttered them. She was the best of company, 
telling a story admirably and writing delight- 
ful letters, and her range of interests was very 
wide. "A great pleasure of hers," says one of 
her friends, "was to pass into speculations, 
social and religious ; we often read the same 
book in order to discuss it." With all her keen 
sense of the ridiculous, her loving sympathy 
and power of imagination gave her a horror of 
paining others by sarcasm, and she dreaded 
anything that verged on the bumptious or 
dictatorial. She would talk about music, ideas, 
other people's work, but it was very difficult 
to make her talk about her own. " Can a 
person be very reserved and yet very trans- 
parent ? " asks the one who knew her best. 
" Then that was Marie." Offers of marriage 
were not lacking, and we are assured that 
two of her suitors were loth to take " No " 
for an answer and asked her over and over 


again ; but there is no trace of the love element 
in her life, or, if there was anything of the 
kind, those who knew her best agree that it 
was slight and fugitive, a mere passing attrac- 
tion. " I think," she once said to her sister, 
" that if I had cared at all I should have cared 
very much " ; but she was too absolutely 
genuine to feign that passion which no circum- 
stances had evoked — anything like sentiment- 
ality was foreign to her nature. 

There survives a family publication, the 
" Argus," a Christmas number of tales and 
poems, illustrated with enterprise if not always 
with striking success by the authors. It was 
circulated for some years among the Hawkers, 
Houndles, and other cousins. Those contrib- 
utors who can look back to the time that 
produced it must smile themselves at what was 
thought an entertaining pastime in mid- Vic- 
torian days. It is a question whether any 
circle of friends would find time nowadays to 
write, much less to read, these bulky manu- 
script volumes ; but in the early 'seventies 
they wrote and read, criticised and voted 
upon them with enthusiasm, and between the 
lines may be read the happy, kindly inter- 
course, the fun and laughter of a bright and 


talented party of young people, pleased with 
what would hardly suffice to please to-day. 
The highest number of votes is gained by 
Marie in 1873, for a story called " The Ghost 
upon the Terrace," in which the ghost is no de- 
parted spirit, but the shade of a living woman, 
whose supreme hour has once been lived there 
and whose apparition ceases with her death. 
The writing already stands out fresh and vivid, 
and is marked by a clear-cut finish which sets 
it apart from the ordinary amateur standard. 

Every year she contributed the dedicatory 
ode. As an example of how well she was able 
to vary the treatment of her theme or to write 
lively and easy verse, three stanzas are given 
from the Christmas number for 1873, and the 
ode for the following year is printed in its 

• •••••• 

A truce to labour and to pain, 
To sweat of brow and toil of brain, 
A truce to every weary sigh, 
To troubled past and by and by. 
Lay down the weary cares of men 
And take our childhood up again. 
Again we hail with eager grace 
The pudding's brown, familiar face, 


Again with nimble fingers tear 
The plums from blue snapdragon's glare. 
And last not least, now draw we near 
In magic circle formed to hear, 
While neither faith nor fancy fail, 
The Christmas ghost and fairy tale. 

For this bright home of Christmas tide 

The " Argus " pages best provide, 

Within its Christmas number lie 

Delight alike for mind and eye. 

And such the varied styles displayed, 

And such the wise selection made, 

No taste so bad, no taste so good, 

But here will find its welcome food. 

We ladies first, who most approve 

The tale of sad or happy love, 

The " Argus " offers to your view 

Of loving pairs a score or two, 

Whose vows, whose sighs, whose hopes, whose 

Must claim your smiles or draw your tears. 

And you, less gentle readers male, 
Who may prefer a thrilling tale, 
A tale that takes away your breath, 
Of murder, fire, or sudden death, 
The " Argus," with attention due, 
Provides an equal treat for you. 


There is no ghost, however rare, 
The " Argus " here has failed to snare, 
No horror yet so dark and drear 
But looms in all its darkness here, 
No crime of present or of past 
That is not here at length surpassed. 
And should your fancy fail at all, 
The Painter's art supplies it all. 

M. E. H. 

Dedicatory Ode to the Christmas Number of 
the " Argus" 1874. 

Now at last, King Winter 
Comes in regal gear, 
As we have not seen him 
Come for many a year. 
All his royal mantle 
Lined with ermine snow, 
And with frost-cut jewels 
All his crown aglow. 
He has set his banner 
White upon the hills, 
He has sealed and conquered 
All the laughing rills. 
Mightiest of the seasons 1 
To the young and gay, 
To the strong and healthful 
Pleasant in thy sway. 


Bright thy happy mornings, 
Clear and cold and keen, 
Brighter still thy evenings 
By the firelight sheen. 
But if thou would'st listen 
To a ceaseless hymn, 
Set thy court, O Winter ! 
Where the skaters skim. 
Like a star uprising 
In the heart of night, 
Mid the cold and darkness, 
Bloom o' Christmas might. 
Ring, ye iron voices, 
Through the frosty air, 
Let the gracious tidings 
Echo everywhere. 
To Earth's fullest limits 
May the lesson reach 
Eighteen hundred winters 
Yet have failed to teach. 
Time of feast and leisure, 
Time of song and mirth, 
When long-parted kinsmen 
Meet around the hearth. 
Then amidst the comers 
Welcomed at the door, 
Comes the " Argus " annual 
With its Christmas store. 


Wit and fun and fancy 
All together brought, 
And by love and kinship 
Skilfully enwrought. 
Bright as in the cover 
It is but akin 
To the brilliant pages 
That you find within. 
Gay with many a picture, 
Many a fair conceit, 
Lovers brave and gallant, 
Maidens fair and sweet. 
Pass then, happy "Argus," 
On to near and dear, 
With a merry Christmas 
And a glad New Year. 

M. E. H. 



The life which began at Hurstbourne Priors 
in 1868, and which went on with little in the 
way of change for the next twelve years, is 
recorded in all its details in a pile of little 
amateur journals, a chronicle such as many a 
household of young people has produced and 
which, lasting for six years, gives a fair idea of 
the surroundings and events which marked 
Marie's youth. In the pages of the " Midge " we 
grow familiar with the inmates of the house, 
their friends and servants, their interests and 
their worries. We become conversant with 
the haphazard character of Mr. Peter Hawker 
and the gossip as to his matrimonial inten- 
tions, with the erratic attentions of the lively 
young undergraduate neighbour, devoted to 
the whole family and reported to have pro- 
posed to Miss Julia Hawker 199 times. We 
read with interest of the varied course of 
lectures delivered by that young lady with all 
the infallibility of nineteen ; we follow the 



fortunes of the Hurstbourne Priors Local 
Temperance Society with its one member — a 
small groom whose strong tendency to drink 
was combated by Marie, who in spite of many 
discouragements devoted herself steadily to 
his reformation. We receive the impression of 
an easy hospitality, of a continual va-et-vient 
going on in the small circle, of the constant 
interchange of luncheons and dinners, of a ban- 
quet at which, in addition to the editor of the 
" Midge's " own attractive family, no less than 
twelve members of the elite of the neighbour- 
hood assisted, and in respect to which some 
misgivings prevailed, owing to the rumours 
emanating from a no less excellent authority 
than the hostess herself, to the effect that there 
was " nothing to eat and nobody to wait." 

An extract chosen as a fair sample from the 
" Court Intelligence " suggests that life was full 
of small social events among a limited circle of 
friends thoroughly at home with one another : 

Tuesday : Lady Catherine Wallop lunched 

at the Garden. 
Wednesday : The Garden party honoured 

Mr. and Mrs. Birch with their company 

at dinner. 


Thursday : Miss Pitts and Mme. Berton 

lunched at the Garden. 
Friday: Mrs. Birch, Mrs. G. Murray, Miss 

Thackeray, and Miss Reid lunched at 

the Garden. Mr. H. Fennell, Mr. P. 

and Miss Hawker honoured the Marchesa 

Radicadone with their presence at dinner. 

Mr. E. Hawker arrived at the Garden. 
Saturday : Miss Hawker honoured Mrs 

Harris with her presence at lunch. 

Every winter private theatricals engaged the 
energies of the neighbourhood, and the Hawkers 
spent a great part of their time journeying 
from their own house to that of their friends 
the Birches, often in the most inclement 
weather, rehearsing in more or less scanty 
attire in a draughty coach-house, getting great 
fun out of the vagaries of the performers and 
the shortcomings of the staging. The fancy- 
dress dances, the annual race meeting, the 
family jokes against the victims of dressmakers 
and bootmakers, the characters of the cats, 
the vicissitudes of the stable, the joys and 
sorrows of hunting days, long visits from 
cousins, arguments, discussions, go to make 
up an impression of a house of lively young 
people, full of fun and merriment. 


Yet perhaps we should not be justified in 
quoting copiously from such a chronicle if it 
were not that the humour with which it over- 
flows is so essentially the same sort of humour 
which is found later in Marie Hawker's pub- 
lished writings. The laughter in it is so fresh 
and gay that we are carried along from page 
to page of the small, neat handwriting by an 
irresistible tide of drollery. From the gran- 
diloquent leaders to the paragraphs by Mr. 
Phillup Bosch, whose task it is to pad corners, 
a witty turn is given to the most prosaic 
incidents. The subjects profess to range 
" from the merits of a cat to the demerits of 
a nation." The pet dog, a new bonnet, no 
trifle is too slight to awaken laughter. There 
could not be a better illustration of the in- 
significance of subject, the all-importance of 
treatment, where humour is concerned. 
Through the whole of life goes the light, 
drolling spirit. A change takes place in the 
household : " Miss Hawker hastens to con- 
tradict a report that the new servants were 
brought into the house in sacks to preserve 
their minds from contamination by the out- 
going retainers." Mr. Fennell (whose special 
idiosyncrasy it was to meddle in domestic 

THE " MIDGE" 45 

matters) assists the new parlour-maid to lay 
the dinner-table. Marie's only impression of 
his scheme was that " everything anybody 
wanted was absent, but that its place was 
supplied by a gigantic silver centrepiece." 
We should like to have been present at the 
charades where Miss Hawker gave a lifelike 
impersonation of herself interviewing a boot- 
maker, or to have joined in the peals of laughter 
aroused by a small actor named Blackie, who 
enacted with much spirit the part of a pet 
lap-dog, the said Blackie having been created 
by Miss Hawker out of an old muff and boa. 
We can sympathise with Miss J. Hawker's 
discomfiture when the stable-boy, whose man- 
ners had been her peculiar care, questioned as 
to the origin of certain mysterious cloudy spots 
upon the glassc hastens to give the smiling 
reassurance that it is only his " 'ot 'ands." 

The " Siege of the Veteran Beau " makes a 
thrilling episode, and we are not surprised 
that on the visit to his ancient mother, upon 
which so many hopes had been founded, " Miss 
Hawker became hysterical more than once, 
and had to resort to various subterfuges for 
concealing her emotion." 

We can imagine the conversation anent 


Marie's new habit, when she execrated the 
tailor, Mrs. Fennell defended him, and Mr. 
Fennell, whose stories of a heroic past were 
generally received with some derision by his 
step-children, elucidated matters by describ- 
ing the leaps he used to take when hunting 
in Berkshire. 

Miss Hawker's ridicule spared neither the 
peculiar weaknesses of her family or her 
friends, much less her own. In the following 
extracts she makes fun of them all : 

On Tuesday Mrs. Fennell entertained a 
luncheon party. After luncheon a meeting of 
a singular kind was held by the Rev. F. Lloyd, 
representing the Church, and Miss Hawker, 
representing the agricultural interest. Both 
the speakers being kind enough to raise their 
voices to concert pitch, everyone in the neigh- 
bourhood was able to enjoy the discussion. 
The style of argument was of the highest 
order, and consisted mainly of the abuse of 
the delegates by Mr. Lloyd and the abuse of 
the Church by Miss Hawker. 

Library : A literary treat was conferred 
on the public by the arrival of one of the most 
remarkable poems this century has produced. 


When we say it is by Mrs. T. B., that it 
is on the subject of Ritualism, and that it 
surpasses anything she has yet written, we 
have conveyed to our readers some faint idea 
of its power and general style. 

Miss Hawker read it aloud on Saturday 
evening to the entire circle amidst profound 
emotion. The reader herself was often in- 
coherent and speechless from excess of feeling. 
We may add that the metre is of a kind as 
yet unknown to the world. 

It is with much regret that we feel ourselves 
compelled to call attention to the very un- 
satisfactory condition of our umbrella depart- 
ment. Now that we are approaching the 
height of the summer, the matter threatens 
to become serious. 

Mr. Peter Hawker's celebrated Brollie, which 
has for some time been the mainstay of the 
family, though still admirably adapted for 
carrying in dry weather is only of use in wet 
to persons desirous of enjoying a shower bath 
and a walk at the same time. 

(Mrs. F.'s umbrella, though perfect in the 
steel work, is more or less destitute of the silk 
which fashionable life demands. 

Most singular of all, Mr. F.'s umbrella, which 
has been carefully preserved in a drawer, 


presents the most dilapidated appearance 
of any. 

Several well-meant but unsuccessful efforts 
have been made to amend this lamentable 
condition of affairs. 

A few days since two young ladies, having 
previous to entering the drawing-room, de- 
posited their elegant little umbrellas in the 
passage, were, on pretence of seeing the garden, 
conducted out by another exit. Unfortun- 
ately they remembered and went back for their 

A still more spirited effort was made on 
Monday. Mr. Baldie, who had been skilfully 
decoyed from the house without his umbrella, 
was just stepping into the carriage that was 
to take him to the station, when he remembered 
it. Mr. F. with admirable presence of mind 
assured him that it had been already placed at 
the back of the carriage : Mr. Baldie, however, 
who is intimately acquainted with the family, in- 
sisted on examining the umbrella-stand himself. 

There is no reason, we think, for discourage- 
ment in the failure of these attempts. In 
both instances the owners were from north 
of the Tweed, and we trust there will be no 
remission of such efforts till our umbrella-stand 
is replenished. 

THE " MIDGE" 49 

The chief subject of discussion this week 
has been the celebrated jump taken by Miss 
Hawker on Tuesday last, near Freefolk wood, 
when following the Vyne hounds. One gentle- 
man describes it as two deep and wide ditches 
separated by a high and thick hedge. Another 
represents it as two ox fences and a stone 
wall, and a third considers it a hitherto un- 
discovered tributary of the Test, considerably 
wider than the main stream. Last but not 
least, a competent eye-witness, Miss Hawker's 
godchild, affirms it to have been five yards 
in width, and on some incredulity being ex- 
pressed by members of the family who do not 
hunt, instantly declared it to have been quite 
six yards wide. Curiously enough no barrier 
answering to any one of these accounts is 
known to exist in the neighbourhood, and the 
conclusion is forced upon us that Miss Hawker 
has been the discoverer of an entirely new line 
of country. As to the suggestion that at the 
time Miss Hawker took the leap the obstacle 
consisted of two ruts and a small mound, and 
that it has since grown rapidly, we advise the 
courageous horsewoman to treat it with the 
scorn it deserves. 

Answers to Correspondents. — " God- 
mother " wishes to know of books suitable for 



a small pet-groom. They must be at once 
horsey and moral in tone. . . . 

In our leading article of to-day we pay a 
debt of deference, too long deferred, to an im- 
portant and revered body to which hitherto 
we have not had the opportunity of alluding : 
viz. Mr. Hawker's turkeys. These magnificent 
birds are a standing proof of the success, not 
too generally acknowledged, of amateur farm- 
ing. The Budget Farm has absorbed, since 
Mr. Hawker took it in hand, a great deal of 
attention, a good deal of labour, and several 
hundred pounds of Mr. Hawker's money. 
The whole of this expenditure has now met 
with a ready and princely return in the shape 
of Mr. Hawker's turkeys. To these birds, 
Mr. Hawker, when asked if he has as yet realised 
any profits, points with modest pride. As 
may be imagined by our enormous circle of 
readers, Mr. Hawker's turkeys are the object 
of much devotion and respect to the retainers 
as well as to the family. " Have you seen 
the turkeys ? " has become a set form of greet- 
ing, and " Beautiful turkeys, Mr. Hawker's," 
is a remark which is considered de rigueur by 
his servants to any of his relations passing the 

Miss Hawker, who is supposed to pass a great 


part of the day at the farm, has exhausted 
every complimentary epithet in the English 
language, and has gazed on them so long 
and so often and been compelled to weigh them 
by holding them up by the feet (an operation 
most painful to the feelings), that she has 
serious fears of suffering from Turkey on the 
Brain. We have great pleasure in announcing 
that the beauty of these illustrious beings 
is almost mature, and that the lady who has 
watched over them from childhood's hour is 
about to seek situations for them in the houses 
of the neighbouring nobility, clergy, and gentry. 

The Fashions. — Toilettes are at present 
subdued in character, the new winter dresses 
having not yet arrived. Shawls, especially 
tartan plaids, will be a la mode till Miss Hawker 
has bought a new coat. 

Probably most people will think that the 
following scene argues great dependence on the 
part of Miss Hawker's relations, upon her good 
humour and easygoing characteristics. 

Central Criminal Court. — An action was 
brought by Miss Hawker against her family. 
Miss Hawker said that her family were in the 
habit of opening and perusing her letters before 
she had herself seen them. Being of a peace- 
able character, she had made no objection to 


this eccentricity so long as they were kind 
enough to allow her to read them afterwards. 
On Friday last, however, on entering the house 
Miss Hawker heard shouts of laughter and 
discovered Mrs. Fennell engaged in reading 
to a large circle of friends a letter which had 
just arrived for Miss Hawker. Miss Hawker 
observed that there was a limit to her patience 
and that she considered that the first perusal 
of her letters should be confined to relations 
of her own. A compromise was effected, 
Miss Hawker's family engaging not to read 
her letters aloud, without her consent, to any 
more distant relative than a fifth cousin. 

Query wishes to know if it is true that Mr. 
Hawker said he considered the presence of 
the audience a mistake in private theatricals ? 

Nimrod wishes to know if one may not hold 
on by the pommel when learning to ride, what 
is one to hold on by? (Ed. — The reins, of 

Literature. — Hints for Household Manage- 
ment, by a housekeeper of five weeks standing. 
The title of an instructive book shortly to be 
published. We append a few quotations : 

1. Never have any keys : they are always 
getting lost and hindering one. 

THE " MIDGE * 53 

2. In ordinary dinners much difficulty will 
be avoided by consulting your own tastes en- 
tirely. It is impossible to please everyone, 
and almost impossible to please anyone com- 
pletely but oneself. 

3. Keeping accounts is the greatest mistake. 
It only shows you how much money you have 
lost, without helping you to recover it. 

4. Be very careful in ordering dinner not to 
make remarks upon joints. They are most 
confusing things, and you are almost sure to 
say something foolish. 

5. In writing an order it is as well to say 
what you mean, as trades-people are extremely 

Miss Hawker has received from Mr. J. Birch 
a valentine in which she is represented as 
hunting not a fox, but the God of Love. Miss 
Hawker resents the bare suggestion that any 
matrimonial designs could have attracted her 
to the cover-side in a country where there are 
no eligible men. 

The Matrimonial Bureau. — It is our duty 
to-day to address some words of serious re- 
monstrance to the younger branches of that 
family to which we have the honour to belong. 
By the family we mean all the descendants of 


the allied houses of Hawker whom we call 
cousins, and more particularly the two houses 
of Radnor and Garden, so long and so closely- 
united by association and affection. 

The subject of age is so delicate a one that 
we would not willingly approach it, but we 
may without offence assert that the majority 
of us will never see twenty again. Such being 
the case, is it not a disgraceful fact that, with 
the honourable exception of Mrs. Walter Sheean, 
not one of us has yet been married. This 
lamentable state of affairs arises, we fear, from 
a combination of selfishness and indolence 
which induces everyone to accept for him or 
herself the easy role of bachelor or old maid, 
but on persons unacquainted with our illus- 
trious and delightful family it may tend to 
produce a false impression of our attractions. 
In order to stimulate our languid energies it 
has been proposed that a prize should be 
offered to the first member who shall enter the 
Holy Estate. The prize shall be provided by 
the remaining members, and a paper will cir- 
culate with this No. on which the family are 
requested to state the amount they will con- 
tribute to this reward of merit. Mr. P. Hawker 
suggests that in the event of the new relation- 
in-law bringing a title into the family, sub- 
scriptions shall be doubled. 





THE " MIDGE" 55 

It is gratifying to learn that soon after the 
formation of the Matrimonial Presentation 
Fund, a " female cousin " is induced to take 
the leap and reaps a harvest of £2, 16s. 2§ d. 

A good deal of harmless amusement has 
been afforded the Miss Hawkers by a riding 
habit which is being manufactured for the 
eldest at Whitchurch. As every time the 
habit is tried on it possesses some new fault, 
it is probable that it may continue to exercise 
their patience and ingenuity for some weeks, 
at the end of which perhaps Myra will be 
able to suggest what to make it into. 1 

We shall hardly be believed, but every 
member of the family now possesses an um- 
brella. Mr. Hawker in a fit of reckless extra- 
vagance, has had his re-done up, and Mrs. 
Fennell with singular good luck has possessed 
herself of three in Scotland, where the family 
is not well known. 

H.P. Temperance Society. — A motto has 
at last been discovered which is supposed to 
express the leading sentiment of this Society 
from the President to the members : " Better 
be a cup too high than a cup too low." 

1 Myrows Journal was a favourite vade mecum of fashion in the 
seventies, and the editor's ingenious suggestions extremely mirth- 


Central Criminal Court — Miss J. Hawker 
was brought up before Mrs. Justice Fennell 
charged with attempt to defraud Miss Hawker. 
Miss Hawker said that, as Mrs. Fennell was 
probably aware, she and her sister belonged to 
an exchange society consisting only of them- 
selves, in which at the beginning of every 
season a brisk interchange of wearing apparel 
took place. Some time since Miss Hawker gave 
Miss J. Hawker a cerise silk skirt and bodice 
in exchange for a blue silk skirt. Not having 
any immediate need of the latter she did not 
ask for it at the time. Some months later 
another exchange took place, when Miss 
Hawker again received the silk skirt. A few 
days since when for an elegant velvet-trimmed 
polonaise she was again offered " a blue silk 
skirt," the words being now familiar, it flashed 
across her that she had bought this blue silk 
skirt three times over ! To add to her in- 
dignation she then discovered that in the mean- 
time Miss J. Hawker had been wearing the 
said blue silk skirt as a petticoat to save her 
own. (Sensation in court.) 

Miss J. Hawker, who was rendered inaudible 
by extreme emotion, said that she had only 
twice offered the same " blue silk skirt," and 
as Miss Hawker seemed satisfied with the 
bargain, she did not see that anyone need be 


blamed. As for wearing it, as Miss Hawker 
would not take it away and as her room was 
very small, the only place she had to put it 
was on herself. 

Mrs. Mallet has been hearing noises again, 
in describing which she paid an indirect com- 
pliment to Miss Hawker's fairy-like step. " It 
were a 'eavy noise. I cannot compare it to 
h'anything but a draggin' a 'eavy pile of furni- 
ture, which I really believed, Miss, it were you, 
a-comin' upstairs to call me." 

A few days since, Miss J. Hawker gave a 
thrilling lecture on a subject which she has been 
studying for years : viz. the expression of a 
parrot's beak. A very false impression of the 
parrot's expression prevails, owing to the fatal 
error of mistaking his beak for his nose, whereas, 
Miss J. Hawker assures us, it is his upper lip. 
Owing to the common error the true expression 
of this noble bird has been hitherto obscured. 

H.P.L.T.S. — The condition of the Society is 
in a most satisfactory state. The President 
reports that its evenings are devoted to plant- 
ing potatoes. Indeed so constant has the 
member described himself in his devotion to 
this refined pastime that some incredulity has 
been expressed as to the necessary extent of 


his potato ground. One fiendish mind has 
ventured to suggest that planting a row of 
potatoes may be a playful synonym for 
" swallowing a pint of beer " at Hutchins's. 

The following report has been sent us of the 
way in which an anecdote is told when several 
members of the same family are present : 

First Member. " Oh, I must tell you a most 
amusing story. We were once staying at a 
place near Blank " 

Second M. " No, it was not near Blank, it 
was near Dash." 

First M. " No, I mean Blank — Blank was 
only four miles away." 

Third M. " Oh, never mind, go on with the 

First M. " Well, one evening we went for 
a walk " 

Second M. " No, it was in the morning.' 

First M. " Oh, tell the story yourself. 1 

Second M. " Well, one morning A and B 
and I " 

Third M. " No, A wasn't there." 

Second M. " Yes, he was." 

First M. " No, he had gone to Blank." 

Second M. " Oh, how you do confuse me. 
He was there." 

Third M. " No, he wasn't, he " 





Second M. " Yes, he was. Don't you re- 
member he said " 

First M. "No, no, I tell you he wasn't," 
and so on for half an hour. Hearer is much 

We have a rival case to the Balham mystery 
in the mysterious death of one of Mr. Fennell's 

To his constant boasting as to his youthful 
feats of prowess, " When he lived in Berk- 
shire," their stepfather joined an excessive 
sensitiveness on the subject of his health, and 
according to his own showing was continually 
about to succumb to some new form of illness. 


animated debate took place between Mr. 
Fennell and Miss Hawker as to the right of the 
latter to call a pain in her back, lumbago. 
Mr. Fennell spoke with some asperity and ap- 
peared to regard Miss Hawker's conduct as 
coming under the head of the Act against tres- 
passers. Miss Hawker objected to Mr. Fennell's 
remonstrating with her, he having been per- 
mitted, unmolested, to assume to himself nearly 
every dangerous and complicated disease to be 
found in the Medical Dictionary. 

Answers to Correspondents. — A lady 
wishes to enquire if it is true that Mr. Fennell, 
on hearing the account of the celebrated Bonds- 


man's diseased hoof, said he had suffered from 
exactly the same complaint when living in 

The Editor believes that he did instinctively 
say so. 

There is nothing like imparting a little 
variety to the ordinary events of life. No- 
thing can in a general way be more prosaic than 
the arrival at home of any member from a visit. 
He mentions his train, the carriage is sent to 
meet him, and he arrives about the hour at 
which he is expected. The following simple 
method of enlivening this monotonous prog- 
ramme was invented by Mr. P. Hawker : 

Write that you are coming home on Friday. 
On Thursday telegraph that you have changed 
your mind and are coming on Saturday by the 
early train and request the presence of every- 
thing you can summon in the way of bailiff, 
groom, and keeper. By the time all these 
orders have been given, telegraph again that you 
have mistaken the trains and are coming by 
the midday express which your relatives must 
manage to have stopped for you. Finally 
telegraph to the coachman at the station that 
you have missed the express and are coming 


by another line, and that he must at once 
hasten to meet you at another station in a 
different part of the country. 

Our Visitors. — Mr. Lewis Shedden com- 
plained that Miss E. Baldie had attacked him 
with a red-hot poker. Miss Baldie in extenua- 
tion said the poker was not red-hot. 

H.P.L.T.S.— Mr. Fennell has founded a 
similar society in which the number of members 
is the same (one) — the H.P.L. Abstinence 
Society. We learn that the member of the 
H.P.L. Temperance Society speaks in terms 
of strong and virtuous indignation of the in- 
temperance of the member of the H.P.L.A. 
Society. This may be compared to the 
Publican taking on the airs of the Pharisee. 

As we are upon the verge of ruin, persons 
acquainted with us will not be surprised to 
hear we are going to build a new greenhouse. 

The Aberdonians 1 have started a Debating 
Society. On Saturday they held a long and 
animated discussion on " Intellect." This 
Society is not to be confounded with the H.P.S. 
Its rules are quite different. In the A.D.S. 
only two members may speak at once, and no 

1 This was a pet term for the Hawker coterie, in allusion to their 
Scottish parentage. 


one may become personal until they have 
decidedly the worst of the argument. 

Among the dissipations which render this 
place such a whirl of gaiety, a visit to Andover 
is among the most thrilling. A trip to this 
festive city is always the signal for much ex- 
citement, running up and down stairs and 
scurrying hither and thither in search of lost 

Before starting, a consultation is always 
held as to whether the carriage shall be bur- 
dened by the enormous weight of two um- 

" Holloway, do you think it is going to 
rain ? " 

" Wa-a-1, there seems some starms a-flyin' 
about, but I don't think we shall 'ave much 
to 'urt, Miss." 

" Well, perhaps we had better take them. 
Now we're ready." 

" Oh, Marie, please wait a minute. I've 
forgotten my spectacles." 

Once off, calm succeeds the storm, broken 
at intervals by discussions of things forgotten. 
Last time it was the library books. The diffi- 
culty was cleverly overcome by Miss Hawker 
going into the library and saying pleasantly 
but firmly, " Oh, we have come to change our 


books, only we forgot to bring the others, but 
I will take the new books now and let you 
have the old ones on Friday, when the bailiff 
comes in." (This being Monday.) 

During the shopping Miss Hawker invari- 
ably tries to cheat with the change and is as 
invariably cheated. 

At the confectioner's they are always sur- 
prised to find that the buns are made with 
rancid butter. 

The last feature of the entertainment is the 
return home, where the servants have by this 
time remembered all the things they want in 

Of the even smaller neighbouring town, the 
"Midge" reports that Mrs. Fennell, on re- 
turning from London, exclaimed complacently 
that, " after all, there is no place for shopping 
like Whitchurch." 

In the evening of a pouring wet day Miss 
J. Hawker implored her sister to suggest some 
enlivening amusement. That lady instantly 
proposed an analysation of their accounts for 
the year. In her innocence Miss J. Hawker 
accepted this advice, but solemnly warns any- 
one else against it except as a remedy for over- 
boisterous spirits. She has not smiled since. 

The sufferings of the Miss Hawkers at the 


hands of country dressmakers are a constant 
topic of the magazine. The vicissitudes of new 
dresses are described with much feeling — as 
for instance when a request for more room across 
the chest is crushed with the remark, "Many- 
people are quite flat there — Mrs. Twitchem is." 

New attempts are continually being made to 
cope with the difficulty. 

The arrival of the " bodice perpetuel " has 
been the signal for an outbreak of dressmaking 
fever. This wonderful invention, which is sup- 
posed to render the art for ever easy, was so 
long in making its appearance that serious 
fears were entertained as to its existence save 
in " Myra's " brain. It is, however, an im- 
pressive proof of the many onerous duties 
transacted by our revered postmistress, Mrs. 
Barnes, that she has never time to re-pack 
any parcel that she has opened, so that when 
the " bodice perpetuel " appeared, carelessly 
wound round with a piece of torn brown paper, 
it became evident that Mrs. Barnes had been 
trying to fit the bodice on herself, a courageous 
attempt on the part of that portly individual, 
as the " bodice perpetuel " is not also a " bodice 
universelle." Miss Hawker is now engaged 
on the manufacture of a washing summer 
dress which it is confidently hoped may be 
finished by Christmas. 


H.P.L.T.S. — A very unsatisfactory report 
reaches us. The member's insubordination 
has been such that the President has serious 
thoughts of dissolving the Society. She will 
never fail to attribute its downfall to the 
gigantic pyramid of empty bottles which has 
so disgraced the stable yard. It is a painful 
fact that after spending an afternoon in remov- 
ing this astounding pile, he was seized with the 
painful lapse to which we have alluded. 

The Ideal Figure. — Persons acquainted 
with this family will not be surprised to hear 
that Miss J. Hawker's new dress which has 
just arrived from London is lovely, but does 
not fit. A discussion arose at lunch as to the 
curious and painful fact that nothing can 
induce Miss Nicol to make the Miss Hawkers' 
dresses fit them. Mr. P. Hawker suggested 
that the fault lay in all probability in his sisters' 
figures, and in support 
of this satisfying theory 
quoted the remarks of an 
eminent local modiste. 
Mrs. F. thought Miss 
Nicol's mistake lay in 
making the dress for " an 
ideal figure " instead of " 
that of Miss J. Hawker. Our artist, after a 
careful study of the dress sent by Miss Nicol, 



has been able to furnish a sketch of what, 
according to her, it ought to be. 

The Comforter. — About five autumns ago, 
it may be remembered, Miss Hawker begged 
the illustrious President of the S.P.S. to select 
some knitted article which she might have 
the honour of working for his acceptance. 
The noble President chose a comforter, and 
from that day to this has heard nothing more 
of the offer. However, tout vient a qui salt 
attendre, and the public will learn with interest 
that the gigantic task is actually undertaken. 

On Friday a crowded meeting was held to 
discuss the stitch. Miss J. Hawker moved 
that it should be worked in the Idiot stitch, 
for, as its name implied, it was peculiarly suited 
to Miss Hawker's capacity. Mrs. Fennell 
moved as an amendment that the Brioche 
stitch should be chosen. It was more showy 
and quite simple. The rule was, " make one, 
slip one, and make two together," and if Miss 
Hawker made a point of repeating this simple 
and rhythmic tune continuously, she could 
hardly fail. The drawback, however, she 
could not conceal from Miss Hawker was that 
a mistake once made was almost irremediable 
and the work must be commenced from the 
very beginning. At these words Miss Hawker 
said she thought she would rather have the 


Idiot stitch. Mrs. Fennell said the Brioche 
stitch was much more comfortable for the 
wearer and that really his feelings deserved 
some consideration. This arrangement finally 
triumphed and a course of instruction began, 
during which Miss Hawker often reverted with 
regret to the thought of the Idiot stitch. 

We hear that in consequence of the fatal 
character of anything like a mistake, the pro- 
gress of the lady is not so remarkable as her 
industry. On Saturday evening it was said 
that the work was unpicked and begun again 
for the nineteenth time. 

H.P.L.T.S. — Thursday last was the anniver- 
sary of this interesting Society. Within the 
last few months there has been great insub- 
ordination on the part of the member. A few 
days since he spent a considerable time at that 
accursed abode which he is solemnly pledged 
to avoid, and the following day it is said that 
he celebrated the anniversary of his entrance 
into the H.P.L.T.S: by drinking till he could 
hardly walk. Under the circumstances the 
public will not be surprised to hear that the 
President threatens to dissolve the Society. 

Later. — The President, though still de- 
pressed, is engaged in collecting subscriptions 
towards a tonic for the member. 


A few nights since some delightful ghost 
stories were told on the terrace. One in par- 
ticular was highly original in having no ghost 
at all. It had, however, a long array of green- 
houses, vineries and gardeners, and a magni- 
ficent house, all belonging to the father of 
the narrator. 

Wednesday. — June 1879, H.P. Debating 
Society. On the last day of Stockbridge races 
a symposium was held, the speakers consisting 
of Mr. Fennell and Mr. and Miss Hawker. 
The subject discussed was the justification of 
gambling. The discussion was conducted in 
the usual animated manner, and the uproar 
was more deafening than anything that has 
been heard for some time. Miss Hawker was 
the first to get hoarse, and may therefore be 
considered to have been decidedly worsted. 
At the conclusion it was decided that not one 
of the speakers had the faintest idea of what 
either of the others meant. A lady present 
ventured to suggest that this was partly owing 
to the genial Hurstbourne Garden fashion of 
all speaking at once. We learn that all the 
members have been more or less deaf since, 
except one lady who, hearing that an argument 
was about to take place, took the precaution 
of stopping her ears with cotton-wool. 


Advent of Mr. Bloggs. — August 1879. 
The event of the week, the month, the year, 
has been the arrival of a Welsh gentleman of 
Scotch extraction. The Welsh gentleman is 
about two inches high and ten inches long. 
Each ear is as large as his whole body. His 
eyes are large, dark and exquisitely beautiful. 
His complexion is of a delicate fawn. His 
accomplishments are many and brilliant. He 
can tear lace, grind buttons, pull braid off 
tablecloths, and run away with anything not 
bigger than himself. He possesses a clear 
silvery bark which he uses on every possible 
occasion. As to his name, his owner, Miss 
J. Hawker, says it is Bloaggs, pronounced 
Bloggs. Everybody is at the feet of this new 
idol except Rory, who remarked to Miss Hawker 
that with two of her own kittens in the house 
there was little need to send to Wales for 




In 1880 Marie Hawker's only sister, her junior 
by seven years, married her distant cousin, 
Mr. Harry Hawker. They took a house in 
the immediate neighbourhood of Hurstbourne, 
so that the separation was felt as little as 
possible. Still the change was a great one. 
Marie gave up her riding, not caring to go out 
alone. Fewer visitors came to the house. 
She had never cared for dancing, and the taste 
for parties was dying away and came finally 
to an end when the incentive of accompanying 
a young girl no longer existed. 

It would be impossible to give a fair idea 
of Marie's life without touching on her relations 
with her stepfather, and no one now remains 
to be distressed by the allusion. Though his 
stepchildren had always endeavoured to treat 



him with respect and cordiality, he and Marie 
had from the first been inimical to one another. 
Mr. Fennell could not understand raillery, he 
divined a critical attitude towards himself, he 
was extremely jealous of Mrs. Fennell's affec- 
tion for her daughter and always made a point 
of interrupting anything like a tete-d-tete. 
When they had been a few years at Hurst- 
bourne an unlucky occurrence increased his 
resentful feelings. From some joke among 
the stepchildren and their cousins he was 
known to themselves as " Dear old Friend," 
shortened to D.O.F. By ill-luck he came 
across and read a letter from Marie to a cousin 
in which the nickname was used. Instead of 
asking her for an explanation — perhaps not 
liking to avow that he had read the letter — 
he referred the meaning to his brother who 
happened to be staying at the house, and the 
latter's genial interpretation that it probably 
meant "Damned old Fool" was accepted by 
him as one which he could not afterwards be 
persuaded to give up. 

With her sister married and her brother 
constantly away, life became more uncongenial, 
and at one time Marie thought it would be 
better to leave home. She was a good deal 


thrown back upon herself, and she took to 
writing in earnest and to cultivating her taste 
for it by serious study. 

Her best refuge was with her friend, Lady 
Camilla Wallop. Lord Portsmouth and his 
family had gone to live on his Devonshire 
estate, leaving his second daughter to keep 
house for her brother, Lord Lymington. Lady 
Camilla's high-minded nature, her entire un- 
worldliness, her keen sense of humour and 
delicate incisive judgment, made the strongest 
appeal to Marie's critical taste and satisfied 
her exacting standards. They met constantly, 
and she speaks of the talks that took place in 
" the old arbour." The surroundings of Hurst- 
bourne House have been in some measure trans- 
formed to suit more modern ideas of gardening, 
but the little arbour, a dainty eighteenth-cen- 
tury erection of trellised woodwork, half shut 
in by a curving red brick wall of which the 
rosy, lichen-dimmed surface gives a warmth to 
clustering creepers, still looks out on a 
sequestered pleasance round which giant elms 
make an impenetrable circle, and is as cool 
and quiet as in the days when the two friends 
sat there, reading and talking through the 
long summer afternoons. 


In Old Hampshire Vignettes, under the 
name of " Lady Ann," Marie has left a lightly 
touched record of her friend, in the old home 
upon the beech-crowned heights, where the 
deer browse slowly on through sun and shade 
and the dust and din beyond are shut off, 
as from some enchanted garden by phalanxes 
of immemorial trees : 

". . . The fragrance of that sheltered and 
secluded past might be felt in all Lady Ann's 
words and ways. It was an essential part of 
her singularity that she never attempted to 
force upon others her peculiar sentiments or 
views, but spoke of them humbly, as the pos- 
sible symptom of inferior rather than superior 
intelligence. ' Everybody is clever,' said a great 
London editor, 'but Lady Ann has a mind.' 
It was a mind strengthened and enriched by 
that patient, loving, lifelong study of the best 
that has been written, which is surely what we 
mean by culture." 

Marie has left a record of the books she read 
during the following years. Not merely a 
list of names, but several MS. books filled 
with quotations. She studied the history of 
the Irish past, O'Brien's Fifty Years of Con- 


cessions to Ireland, Sullivan's New Ireland, 
much of Froude and Lecky, and became an 
ardent Home Ruler. Though former genera- 
tions of her family had always been what are 
known as " staunch Conservatives," her sym- 
pathies in politics were by temperament with 
the Liberal party, and such books as Morley's 
Life of Cobden and Cobbett's Poor Man's 
Friend moved her to a vigorous championship 
of the working classes. Her foreign studies 
included Lettres de Boudon, much of Moliere 
and Sainte-Beuve, Renan's Vie de Jesus. The 
mystic and religious element in her, afterwards 
to become so strong, led her to Hinton's 
Religion and Philosophy, to Jacqueline Pascal 
and Lewes's History of Philosophy, and H. 
Maudsley's Body and Will and Pathology of the 
Mind. Flaubert's Lettres had already a special 
interest for her, and Le Roman Russe of de 
Vogue and La pessimisme dans le Roman, 
but it is perhaps more surprising to find her 
embarking on such books as Maine's Ancient 
Law, Mill's Logic, Herbert Spencer's Data of 
Ethics, Professor Clifford's works, and Huxley's 
Lay Sermons. Sometimes she adds a critical 
comment to her extracts, as on a study of 
De Quincey by a well-known writer she ob- 


serves " 's incapacity for holding 

her tongue on irrelevant matters, which is a 
sign of intellectual weakness : her incapacity 
for keeping her emotions, especially vitupera- 
tive ones, to herself, which is a sign of moral 

At this time a few short essays and stories 
from her pen had been published in various 
magazines. One on " Alfred Tennyson," 
which appeared in Modern Thought in July 1882, 
seems to have been the very first. It is five 
pages long, and signed M. E. Hawker. A 
proof for an article on Mme. Recamier lies 
among her papers. Both essays are thoughtful 
and careful, but it was not on such lines that 
her real bent in literature was to develop. 
Certain little stories, " Advice," " Was it a 
Ghost ? " and others, which were printed 
during these early years in the Argosy and 
other obscure magazines, indicate more surely 
the facility for and significance in dialogue for 
which her writing was afterwards so remark- 
able. The excellence of her work was no 
product of chance. She read and wrote, she 
pruned and polished. Among her MS. books 
is one which chronicles the aspect of nature 
from day to day, the changes of the sky, the 


look of the winter fields. She brings before us 
the very marrow of the early spring day, when 
the village children wander with their scant 
handfuls of cuckoo flowers and celandines, and 
the March wind blows the dust in clouds along 
the hard white roads. She worked on for her 
own satisfaction, developing a higher ideal and 
greater finish of execution, but she had no 
connection with the world of letters, and she 
met with the usual fate of the short-story 
writer, having many contributions returned and 
one accepted now and again. 

It was in 1883 that Marie began to keep the 
manuscript notes that, off and on, she con- 
tinued to write for the rest of her life. These 
notes do not constitute a diary in the ordinary 
sense of a record from day to day. They include 
accounts and descriptions of theatricals, visits 
and visitors. Any good story she hears finds a 
place, and very soon the lighter entries are inter- 
spersed with what she herself calls " thought 
notes." Sometimes she gives circumstantial 
details of some domestic scene, evidently find- 
ing it a relief to her mind to confide in the 
discreet pages of her manuscript book. 

Early in 1885 Lord Lymington married, and 
her friend, Lady Camilla, no longer made her 


home at Hurstbourne. Their friendship was 
still kept up, after Lady Camilla's marriage 
in 1888, to Sir William Brampton Gurdon, and 
until her death in 1894, but the old daily inter- 
course, the reading of the same books, the meet- 
ing to talk them over, were things of the past. 

" Camilla came to say goodbye," she writes 
on December 15th. " Our farewell was really 
spoken in my room, where she went to write 
her name in my birthday book. I stood in 
the dim light of the late afternoon, looking 
down at the little figure bent over my desk. 
Through the window behind her I could see 
the bare elm boughs dark against the livid sky. 
Farewell to many pleasant talks on the hilltops 
— in more senses than one — above the narrow 
scope of this dear dull little valley. . . . 

" What is the pleasure of true companionship ? 
I think it is the delightful sensation of being 
instantly and easily understood when one is 
most essentially oneself. Sympathy in pleasure 
or in pain is always delightful. For the idealist, 
living chiefly among people occupied with the 
concrete, existence is not merely lonely, but 
fatiguing. It is as if he or she were talking a 
foreign language. Oh the rest as well as the 
joy of being able for a little to speak one's own 
native tongue. ' Does she come from my own 


country ? ' was Lady G.'s way of putting it 
to Camilla. Probably Lady G. was of a dif- 
ferent type and came from a different country, 
but she expressed the same sympathy for the 
bent of her own tastes and interests. 

"Remember the various excellent, sensible, 
nay, clever people, to whom the finer shades 
of sentiment are unknown, and yet one is apt 
to long for their stolid company after too long 
a spell of those aerial but also flimsy person- 
alities that subsist on sentiment alone. But, 
after all, the half tints of feeling and perception 
have a great charm, seductive as that in the 
sphere of colour, the faint lilacs, olive greens 
and salmon pinks, so that we sometimes almost 
shrink from the positive scarlets and azures. 

"The people who watch the spectacle of life 
are always fewer as modern life leaves less 
leisure for watching anything, and still fewer 
those spectators who not only watch but dis- 
criminate with the admiration of a cultivated 
taste for much that the uninitiated neither 
notice nor appreciate — all these in nine cases 
out of ten must resign themselves to be lonely. 
They are the stuff of which poets are made, 
and though they may not themselves be articu- 
late, they pay the penalty of being highly con- 
nected. It is not only in the mechanical arts 
that special trades have their special ailments. 


" Dec. 20. — Very cold and just enough 
snow fallen to cover with sparse powder the 
fields and roads. A warm pink flush covers 
all the air ocean, just above the zenith gleams 
a little new moon, a crescent of bluish silver. 

" Dec. 21. — Exquisite view standing near the 
lower mill. The old bridge stands out dark 
against the delicate background. The glassy 
river reflects the pure pale yellow and dim red 
of the sky. On the bank beyond, soft brown 
willows and trees delicate as spectres in faint 
lilac. The golden ball of the sun just touches. 
a bank of violet cloud which broods on the 
horizon line. 

"Lady C. told me that Florence Nightingale, 
on being introduced to a gentleman who had 
a reputation for telling good stories, immed- 
iately begged for one. He told her the fol- 
lowing. Some great man was taking his friends 
over his newly built house. One of the 
party would not admire it and said there were 
too many anachronisms. ' Oh,' said a lady 
who was noted for toadyism and who had been 
unstinted in her flattery, c don't you like 
anachronisms ? I think they are such a 
beautiful ornament.' The best part of the 
story is that the gentleman afterwards con- 
fessed that he had invented it on the spur of 
the moment." 


Study for a pleasant day. — The day is 
sunless, dark and rainy. A wind surges woe- 
fully in the chimney and in the dripping laurels. 
Fortune has just dealt a sharp buffet in the 
shape of a rejected MS. She has had a not 
very good night, her head aches and her brain 
hitches like a machine out of gear. Worst 
of all, composition does not flow at all. Page 
after page of stuttering and stammering sen- 
tences are torn up. The work at last is put 
aside in despair and the clock sounds unmerci- 
fully the flight of another precious morning. 




During these years Miss Hawker paid visits 
which took her into fashionable society. She 
stays with a party of people in Hertfordshire, 
where the company included the Spanish Am- 
bassador and a number of Tory magnates, and 
where perhaps she met the counterpart of 
Mrs. Cosmo Fox. She writes two or three 
pages on fashionable indelicacy and fashion- 
able greediness, notes some questionable stories 
with a good deal of disgust, gives a little 
vignette of one of the party, who, plump, 
dimpled and smiling, declares she is so weary 
of social life that she hates the sight of every- 
body and feels as if she could never smile 
again and thinks (while eating a hearty meal), 
that we all eat too much, and that as people 
get older they should eat less and give up 

81 F 


People who live in what is called society, 
writes Marie, and especially those who live 
luxuriously, should be compelled at least once 
a year to undertake a Retreat — not in a 
monastic or conventual establishment, but in 
some excessively poor dwelling, to be enter- 
tained not by offices and sermons, but by poor 
fare and such hard work as they are capable of 
performing. Above all, their dress must be 
coarse and their surroundings squalid. On 
one day they must go without food until the 
evening, thereby learning what semi-starva- 
tion means. Having thus been made to feel 
what existence is to millions, there might be 
some chance of their seeing things as they 
really are. 

• ••••• 

A gulf more impassable than that between 
different worlds severs me from the great 
majority of people I meet in society. It severs 
them too, it seems to me, from humanity at 
large. Sometimes a single sentence seems to 
measure the abyss. The looks and manner 
of many human beings express the complete 
satisfaction which ordinary society affords 
them, not because they are living up to any 
high standard, but simply drifting on the 
stream. The routine of X.'s life unfolded be- 
fore me as she discoursed of her doings and 


interests. What Canon Carter describes as 
" toy-duties." A far less amiable person, 
shrewd and handsome, between sixty and 
seventy, enjoyed the autumn of her life as if 
it had been the most fruitful of existences. 
Time has not dulled the thrilling interest in 
the doings of people in her " own set," which 
constitutes the one great topic of fashionable 
society. Lady M., Mrs. N., Lord B., and their 
marriages, their children, their illnesses and 
their incomes : on these she gave and received 
information and speculated and reflected 
aloud all day long. 

The oppression of Sunday observance was 
avoided by one lady in working for the poor. 
Another had a novel of G. Macdonald's which 
though pronounced " disgusting " was " quite 
a Sunday book." 

Lady (loq.) : "I never heard such silly 
words. I can't bear these silly sentimental 
songs. Something about the river and the 
fountains and the hills all being mated and that 
being a reason for his being mated too." 

It was strange to hear two men talking 
politics in the train, discussing the question 
of Home Rule for Ireland, which belonged a 
few years back to the region of insensate 
Mr. Gladstone to his Wife : " I am 


always speaking as if all your money belonged 
to me : as if you had married a great heiress." 

Great Soldier. — Told story of the best 
man he had ever known. Instead of being, 
as we were prepared to hear, the noblest of 
mankind, proved to be a very capable servant 
subject to occasional fits of drunkenness. Did 
not admire courage much, finding it more 
troublesome than useful in the long run. 
Always sent the coward to the post of danger 
as more likely to look about and cry out than 
anyone else. (Doubtful how much " Bible 
truth" and how much modified by mischief.) 

At breakfast the hostess, reading aloud a 
letter, came across an allusion to Mrs. Josephine 
Butler, who had done so much for the protec- 
tion of women and young girls. At her name 
a little snigger went round the table. " And 
now in society," says A. C, " I always hear 
that snigger in everything." 

At Hurstbourne Priors she met Miss Glad- 
stone (Mrs. Harry Drew), who introduced her to 
a very good essay society. She also met Pro- 
fessor and Mrs. Fawcett and stayed with them. 

Liberal as she was, Marie Hawker had a 
strong instinctive reverence for established 
authority and accepted principles. 


Her sympathy with the poor villagers was 
deep and untiring, and while keenly alive to 
the humorous side of their outlook on life, she 
was no less conscious of their pathetic endur- 
ance and the resignation bred in them by 
generations of penury and subservience. She 
is still remembered and spoken of with respect 
and affection by those who were young men 
and women when she used to visit the old and 
sick, and she has left many notes of their 
quaint sayings and of their accounts of former 
days when life had been even harder for them : 

The Old Doctor : There warn't no foolish- 
ness about 'im. " Aye," 'e'd zay to anyone 
with a bad throat, " 'e wants a fuzzy-brush 
drawed up and down 'is throat," and if e'er a 
one was ill and you come to ask where 'e'd die 
or no, " What's that to you ? " 'e'd zay. " E'll 
die when 'is time comes." And if he come 
when you was at dinner, 'e'd look to zee what 
anyone 'ad. " Odd rot it ! " 'e'd zay. " You've 
got new paize" (peas), " afore I 'ave." 

Now Master 'Enery, 'e ain't got that way 
wi' 'im. What 'e 'ave to zay, 'e'll zay and no 
more. Oh Master 'Enery was brought up 
very different from the old gentleman. 


Old Villager. — Betty Taylor (aged 74) says 
people used to be stronger. Her mother never 
slept more than three hours, week-days, in 
harvest time. Rose early, dressed her baby, 
cooked hot breakfast (bacon, greens and dunch 
pudding, flour and water), and carried breakfast 
and baby by sunrise to the Seven Barrows 
near Mitcheldever from Tufton. Worked in 
fields all day. Home again about six or seven. 
Did washing, &c, till eleven. Then to bed. 

Mrs. Wood, talking of her severe illness, 
told me her husband said to her when she 
appeared to be at death's door, " I cannot say 
Thy will be done." ^ " Never mind," said I, 
" you don't need. I'm going to get better." 
At the same time Mrs. Wood described a 
terrible internal tumour and a series of appal- 
ling operations, performed without chloroform 
(for Mrs. Wood would suffer anything rather 
than " lose her mind "). I listened with a heart 
unmoved and a sense of humour somewhat 
tickled, and as descriptions of physical suffering 
usually make me miserable, some of this want 
of feeling must be ascribed to Mrs. Wood's 
treatment of the ghastly theme, which was alert 
and cheerful in the extreme and suggested the 
comforting thought that pain to some people is 
little more than serious discomfort to others. 


Village Humour. — " So then we had an 
argyment ; he said, ; Yes, it was,' and I said 
1 No, it wasn't.' " 

Mrs. P.'s comments on her daughter's mar- 
riage : " And he said everything that money 
could get, he should give her — what could he 
say more ? " 

Mrs. Taylor quoted, as an example of pro- 
found ingratitude, Mrs. Burrs, who being 
converted by the Wesleyans instantly went 
off and joined the Baptists. 

The poorest usually gave the most readily 
to the Jubilee fund. Mrs. Okey said, " Her 
'ave been a good Queen, 'ave her not ? Her 
'ave give us so many good things — the penny 
post and all, and we've 'ad no be-'eadings or 
thumbscrews ; her is so merciful." 

Mr. L.'s last words before his death were to 
remind the nurses to cork up the champagne 
— the ruling spirit of fussiness and management 
strong to the very end. 

1887.— The Home Rule Bill had just been 
drafted, and this led to 

The Great Political Tempest. It was 
certainly initiated by Ju, who offered her 
kitchen for an Anti-Coercion meeting. Tovey's 
joyous letter of acceptance — appearance of 
the posters. Colonel Tippinge writes Ju long 


letters of protest. Meanwhile Tovey and Co. 
entreat Mrs. H. Hawker and her sister to be 
present and to speak. Ju at last consents 
from devotion to duty. M. reluctantly follows 
suit from devotion to Ju. Correspondence 
with Colonel Tippinge still going on. 

Day comes. Dress ourselves in our Sunday 
best, put on shamrock sprigs, bought for the 
occasion, and depart in Nichol's fly. Tovey 
and W. arrange proceedings and M. finds her- 
self in the position of seconder. Mr. Elliott, 
the chairman, arrives, led by the reporter; at 
sight of them our sense of loneliness delight- 
fully departs. Mr. Elliott is blind and Ju hopes 
that he may imagine himself in a vast hall, 
surrounded by great numbers. Mr. Elliott is 
introduced and congratulates himself on hav- 
ing found such rarae aves as Liberal ladies. 

Labourers stumble and shuffle in. Day- 
light dies and lamps are lit. Tovey's speech. 
Terrible incidents first — allusion to a sheep- 
dog muzzled, when Tovey, carried away by 
his zeal, is lead to say that muzzles had been 
inflicted in this neighbourhood in order to 
prevent shepherds' dogs catching rabbits. 
Here he appealed to a shepherd, who proceeded 
to make some sapient but prolix remarks on 
the subject of muzzles. Others joined in 
Chairman in a voice of agonised entreaty 


"Excuse me, my dear sir, but question — 
question." This well over, the reading room, 
instead of the wrongs of Ireland, became the 
matter in hand. " Mr. Tovey needn't talk 
about coercion. He's as bad a coercionist as 
any of them. 'Cos a few boys got to playing 
in the reading room," &c. . . . More voices 
joined in. All seemed over. The chairman 
in an icy voice, " Gentlemen, will you please to 
observe that this question is utterly foreign 
to the matter in hand." Everything goes on 
again swimmingly. Gratifying allusions to 
the noble ladies who had come to help them 
in spite of the unkind things which had been 
said against them. Dobson, much embar- 
rassed by being called upon to second a vote 
of thanks to Ju, remarks that he has " nothing 
to say against Mrs. 'Arry 'Awker." 

Great anguish over the report of the speeches 
(in local papers), especially over the graceful 
finale ascribed to M. A rival meeting is in- 
stantly given at L. p. house and Colonel Tip- 
pinge enters into a long correspondence with 

Climbing Andover Hill in the twilight, I met 
a female tramp who said she had just come 
from Andover workhouse, adding condescend- 
ingly, " But it's a poor place." 

David Cotton desired particularly that no 


flowers should be put on his coffin. When 
wreaths arrived, however, Mrs. Cotton (much 
flattered) surmounted the difficulty by sup- 
posing that, for all we knew, he might have 
changed his mind. 

Death in the Village. — In life this old 
hard-working washerwoman, not beautiful to 
begin with, was afterwards a disfigured, singu- 
larly ugly person. The majesty of Death 
never shone out more transplendently than 
in his transfiguration of her. It was nothing 
less. Beautiful he could not make her, but 
ugliness vanished beneath his touch. All 
unlovely hues were lost in the even pallor, 
like old ivory. All furrows of age and per- 
plexity and pain were, if not smoothed away, 
then eclipsed by that smile of ineffable and 
triumphant repose which is the sign manual 
of Death. Shall I ever feel the awe and beauty 
of him more than I did in this peasant's garret, 
where there were neither flowers, nor lights, 
nor trappings of woe or earthly honour to 
announce his presence ? 

Hurstbourne Priors : Village People. — 
Mrs. Sinney, accounting for the astonishing con- 
duct of Mrs. Smith, which had at first been as- 
cribed to drink — " I shall not wish it remembered 
as I said so, but all her life she's been given to 


Performers (from left to right) : 

Back row : Mr. Peter Hawker, Mr. F. Birch, Mrs. Fennell, Mr. 

Harry Birch, Mr. Jack Birch 
Front row: Lionel Birch, Marie Hawker, George Birch 


readin' nobbles, and 'tis always the same, as no 
doubt you've seen yourself, Mum, them as reads 
them nobbles, they've alius got that there 
skeered look in the h'eye." The same lady 
remarked, when it was proposed that a pro- 
fessional should play instead of Mrs. Tippinge, 
"What I says is, why whatever do we want 
with a confessional in the church when we've 
got Mrs. Tippinge on the premises " ; and of 
Gladstone, " Why as to that there Glad- 
stone, why Sinney himself might just as well 
resume the reins of government." 

In her quiet village she never lacked sub- 
jects for observation. The neighbouring 
clergyman who paid a long visit, and after 
luncheon and a port -wine dessert gave forth 
some enlightened opinions on social and political 
matters, had probably not the slightest sus- 
picion of how keenly the quiet woman with 
the short-sighted grey eyes, which by this time 
she had taken to veiling behind glasses, was 
taking stock of him : 

Apropos of Ireland, he could not think why 
the Orangemen had not threatened to anni- 
hilate all the Roman Catholics. Mother sug- 
gested that they had. " But they have not 


done anything." "Well, they could not ex- 
actly fight at once." " Yes, they could. If 
I were an Orangeman I should shoot at 

He attributes all the evils of the present 
day, not to Gladstone (and this at least is a 
gratifying variation on the popular jeremiad), 
but to Dissent and lack of Church discipline. 
He described the insubordinate state of the 
poor, and declared the poor were not so well 
cared for as they were forty years ago, " before 
all this education craze." He instanced in 
support that the poor did not make such good 
servants, or stay so long in one place, from 
which I deduce that the rich, not the poor, are 
not so well cared for. Mama ventured to say 
a word in defence of the love of change, upon 
which he diverged to emigration and unfolded 
a scheme by which all the worthless members 
of the community, " Those who would never 
do any good anywhere," should be compelled 
by the State to emigrate. He was furious at 
the irreligious conscience clause. Before it 
was passed he would compel all children, dis- 
senters or non-dissenters, to receive episcopal 
instruction by this edict: "There are seven 
schooldays. Sunday is the first. If you don't 
come on the first you shall not come on the 
other six." 


C. is a Tory and glories in the name. Dis- 
likes many new things, but especially the 
upward movement of the democracy. Thinks 
it impossible and evidently feels it undesirable 
that there should ever cease to be an inferior 
class. Thought England was deteriorating 
because she was losing her pre-eminence in 
commerce as well as in rank. Like all tinged 
with Jingosm, always talks as if England were 
the chosen nation of God : and her supremacy 
the end of creation. 

In 1883, Mr. Peter Hawker, Marie's only 
brother, had married a daughter of Colonel 
Tippinge, his tenant at Longparish. Mr. 
Hawker's health had for some time been an 
anxiety, and in 1889 he was ordered abroad after 
an illness. Marie went with him and her sister- 
in-law to Cannes. She much enjoyed the air 
and scenery of the Riviera and made notes and 
observations, some of which were afterwards 
utilised in the Hotel d'Angleterre and some 
other stories : 

Cannes. — The houses, hotels, and villas are 
so light in appearance, not only because of the 
red of their roofs and the soft white of their 


walls, but because of their apparent fragile 
structure — only apparent, as they survive 
such a shaking as the earthquake has given 

To church, by a winding, ascending way. 
We looked out over a wide view of Cannes and 
the sea and the dark purple mountains streaked 
with snow. 

Great joy at hearing of Pigott's collapse pro- 
claimed in the enemy's camp. " Oh, he must 
have been bribed." 

The Plymouth sister at our hotel droops one 
corner of her eye and lifts one corner of her 
mouth. The effect is delightful and humorous 
and suggests the idea that she is boiling over 
with suppressed fun, as during the Pigott 
revelations, when her look and manner con- 
vinced me that she was a disguised Home 

In the evening the band came in with 
three real Neapolitans in sailor costume. The 
people grouped themselves about on the stair- 
case and in the vestibule. The band of singers 
was stationed in the centre, just in front of 
the Egyptian nymph and other dark statues 
among the palms, holding lamps above their 

At dejeuner Pigott's flight was announced. 
My throat more hoarse than ever, so am unable 


to shake hands in language with a white- 
haired foreigner who avows himself an admirer 
of Gladstone. The General struck dumb when 
I explain that I admire him too. A young 
Manchester Greek and myself lift up a feeble 
protest on his behalf in the drawing-room, where 
one lady did not hesitate to say that " God 
was merciful and there might be Liberals in 
Heaven." I said, " I don't think the Conserva- 
tives would be happy in Heaven if there were." 
When she answered, " Ah, it would not be 
Heaven without them" 

Journey to Genoa. — So much time taken 
up getting tickets vise'd and bags examined, 
no time for lunch. Great etiquette between 
French and Italian porters most inconvenient 
to travellers. Off at last with amiable English- 
man and his wife. Englishman gets us oranges. 
Coffee and rolls at Savona — sudden shrieks 
and exit. False alarm and return — coffee gone. 
Wearisome journey. Pause while bridge is 
mended — displeased English faces looking out. 
At last station and village in ruins. Officials 
search all trunks, consequently long pause in 
omnibus filled with English, Spanish, Germans, 
and Americans. American contempt at this 
arrangement. Arrival — gorgeous rooms — en- 
gage a carnival carriage for a short course. 


We go out with a good-natured old person who 
shouts out the names — especially those clearly 
written up. Afterwards it goes on till late in 
the street below, when the first admiration 
gives way to weariness and disgust. News of 
Pigott's suicide. 

Travellers sometimes refer everything to 
themselves. " The great battle of X. took place 
in such a year — because my grandmother was 
at Naples." 



It is not easy to decide when Marie Hawker 
made the " studies" referred to in the title 
of this chapter. Some probably towards the 
end of the 'eighties, shortly before Mademoiselle 
Icce was written. Others later. 

That they are all from people who came 
under her own observation is quite evident, and 
here and there one recognises traits and types 
of which she made use, but what is striking is 
the marked difference between these circum- 
stantial portraits and the very light drawing, 
slight but telling, of the characters in her 
stories. She creates these firmly, but she 
never exaggerates, never labours any pecu- 
liarity. The humour and the reality of her 
personages does not depend in the least upon 
facetious descriptions. Yet as the following 
examples show, her observation was close and 
searching, not overlooking the superficial im- 
pression but piercing far below it ; dispassion- 
ate but never unkind : 

97 G 


A., in her carriage and gestures was more 
mannish than a man. This effect was pro- 
duced chiefly by squaring the elbows and 
turning them out. This with a long stride 
has a very mannish appearance. Went so 
far as to stroke one side of her chin as if 
caressing a moustache. Expression keen, self- 
contented. Her mannish bearing became less 
distinct when she was much interested, as in 
questions of morals and literature. Well read, 
intellectual. So intellectual, so alive to fine 
moral as well as artistic ideas, that one felt it 
was her tribe, not herself, which was coarse- 
fibred. Old-fashioned views of women, as 
spiteful, little-minded, and more affection and 
esteem for men. 

G. was a conspicuously clever person, her 
cleverness being of that showy kind which im- 
presses the least observant person. Analysed, 
it seemed to consist of natural ability, one ; 
advantage of circumstance, one ; fluency, one ; 
self-confidence, three. Lacking was the cramp 
of shyness or self-distrust, lacking also the 
sensitive tact and consideration for others, 
which it would seem is the quality of which 
too great timidity is the defect. This fearless- 
ness, verging upon lack of refinement, was 
visible in a certain glance which it would be 


unfair to call bold, but which was distinctly 
audacious. Natures like this have their own 
fine qualities, but to the inner province of the 
Kingdom, the country of childlike souls, they 
are absolutely incapable of entering. How 
is any searching discipline of sorrow and 
humiliation to reach them through that ram- 
part of self-satisfaction in which they are 
fenced in ? They worship the Monster Mon- 
arch, Success, literally for them the King of 
Kings and Lord of Lords, the Chief Potentate 
in a universe of dignities in which their own 
position is excellent. The salt of her character 
was her benevolence, of a Lady Bountiful kind. 
Her life was much occupied with good works, 
conceived in a queenly spirit. She carried 
the beneficence of the feudal system to per- 
fection, visited assiduously all the tenants and 
villagers, knew all their affairs, their troubles 
and sorrows. She gave them attention, sym- 
pathy and advice. She sent out neat little 
dinners to the sick and women recovering 
from their confinements. She found situations 
for the girls and watched over them after- 

In the process of analysing character I 
discover that self-satisfaction supplies a very 
large element in the majority of the cheerful 


Mr. B. shone with vivacity, compounded 
of considerable intelligence, animal vigour, 
fluency of language, and self - satisfaction 
enough to render it impossible for him 
to suppose that his companions could ever 
have too much of his talk. Into his concrete 
world there could by no means intrude the 
innumerable shadows that haunt the sphere 
of the abstract and the ideal. A form of re- 
ligious belief he held, as well as religious feeling 
of a kind to which any form of sacrilege or 
irreverence is peculiarly abhorrent. Had an 
admirable contempt for overeating and in- 
dolence, of which he accused the majority of 
London men. Kind-hearted, capable not only 
of doing kind actions, but of taking prolonged 
trouble for the moral as well as the physical 
benefit of creatures he was interested in. 

Striking by its absence was the lack of 
that mental diathesis which produces ennui, 
scepticism, discontent with life's conditions. 
To enjoy life and to reverence the Heavenly 
Powers without questioning either their exist- 
ence or their goodness was instinctive to him. 
It was a part of his robust and almost coarse- 
grained taste to get on very well with old bores 
— if there was anything to be gained by it. 
But nothing makes one less fastidious in the 
enjoyment of society than the habit of talking 


a good deal without enquiring too much into 
the interest with which one is heard. 

The Rev. X. X. — Nothing is so difficult as to 
describe personal appearance, especially when it 
is not striking. The Rev. X. was lean, sandy- 
haired — indeed sandy was the emphatic, or 
perhaps, one should say, non-emphatic hue of 
his whole face. His features had the same lack 
of any striking characteristic. It was a nega- 
tive face, noticeable for its lack of intellectual 
refinement — not that it was coarse, or animal 
or vulgar : these are all positive qualities. 

The intonation was peculiar and, to select a 
mild adjective, homely — of a kind more to be 
looked for in the yeoman class. Its sing-song 
suggested a meaning apart from the words, 
set to a kind of undercurrent of protestation. 
Something like this : "I am a plain straight- 
forward man, there is nothing grand about me 
— I like simple, old-fashioned ways." And 
he had great simplicity, sturdiness, honesty, 
and considerable kindliness. 

Still his manners and choice of language 
would not have suited a dignitary of the Church, 
nor did they always seem appropriate even to 
a humble pillar. Such expressions as " all 
over the shop " are not exactly venerable. 
He appeared to have adopted his manner when 


he was a schoolboy, and never to have changed 
it afterwards. 

His practical common-sense prevented his 
spoiling the reading room which proved the 
most successful in the diocese. 

" They " (the young men of the parish) 
" came to me and said, ' You've got a saddle 
room, sir, would you mind lending it to us to 
meet in every evening ? ' So I said, 8 All 
right, you've fallen out with Blank. Now I 
don't intend to have any bother with him. 
You can have the room, but you must man- 
age the thing yourselves and pay your own 
expenses. You'll have to make rules and you 
had better have a committee. I shouldn't 
have a large one — three would do.' ' Well, 
sir, perhaps you would be one of the com- 
mittee ! " And so I was. They paid a penny 
a week and they cleared all their expenses : 
fire, lighting, everything. Oh, we gave them 
some papers ; and they had enough over for a 
supper at the end of the winter. They seemed 
as happy as possible. It's a tiny bit of a place. 
They're packed like herrings in a barrel. I 
believe if you put them into a large room they 
wouldn't enjoy it half so much." 

With this homely character and its common- 
sense goes always great fairness. It is typically 


A Retriever Puppy. — He is very soft and 
fluffy, as if not yet provided with a skeleton. 
Innocent baby eyes beneath the curve of a 
youthful brow, a mouth of infantile sweetness, 
and teeth whiter than almonds and sharper 
than a lancet. His carriage is rollicking and 
clumsy and his manners loving and impertinent. 
When he escapes from his proper sphere he 
enters the drawing-room with the tread of a 
behemoth. He has to be disentangled from 
the folds of my gown as if he were a bramble. 
He is captured by the housemaid amid re- 
pressed laughter and borne off to his temple, 
the kitchen, whence through the red swing-door 
come sounds of puppy-worship. 

Atalanta was a daughter of the gods, 
tall and lithe, fair-skinned and brown-haired ; 
the effervescence of strong vitality in the 
spring of her movements and the sparkle of 
her eyes. Her appearance was almost as im- 
pressive as the reputation which preceded her, 
yet it was in contrast rather than in harmony 
with that reputation, for who is so free from 
commonplace prejudice as to expect to find 
a learned woman good-looking, graceful, and 
buoyant. No less uncommon was the im- 
pression she made as one saw more of her. 
Her grace, even rarer and more seductive than 


her beauty, was displayed only to full advan- 
tage when she was playing, as on the slightest 
pretext she was ready to do. Playing at ball 
she compared with a picture by Leighton. 
Her chief beauty was the perfect setting of her 
head, the shape of her brows and the growth 
of the hair about them : so like what we have 
seen in Greek marbles. Her manner was as 
singular. Life came bubbling to the surface 
and she let it do so without a tinge of that 
self-repression, inevitable in the English race 
or approved by it. Most people compared 
with this Australian girl are monotonous in 
accentuation, lifeless in poverty of gesture. 
This outward quality corresponded with an 
absence of that Puritanic or ascetic sense which 
in us is the strongest survival of the waning re- 
ligious order. It is a certain shame of enjoy- 
ment, and especially of physical and sensuous 
enjoyment, the open and earnest pursuit of " a 
good time " as not only allowable but her right. 
Added to this, in England, is the antiquated 
ideal which makes it unfeminine to have any 
fleshly desires at all. 

Quite demonstrative was the appetite of 
this healthy representative of a new era for 
pleasant meat and drink and for " play," i.e. 
the social amusements of all kinds which took 
up so much time at college as almost to inter- 


fere with work. Quite indirectly in her com- 
ments on art, literature, and people she showed 
a healthy love of purity and moral dignity, 
a repugnance to baseness of every kind. 
Withal, her religious and moral creed is still 
undefined and vacillating. She does not miss 
the support of something firmer and more 
concise, buoyed up and carried on as she is 
by the tide of fresh young life within her. 
Friendship is to her a kind of religion. " Her 
work always counted for more than her 
friends with her," she remarked disapprovingly 
of another illustrious girl. In the picture of 
Burne- Jones, the " Mermaid," others only 
noticed the mischievous face : she saw the 
tragedy of the triumph of evil, and enforced 
her point by quoting the motto appended by 
the painter, which she had to transcribe for 
us : " O unhappy one, you have had what 
you wished ! " Her praise of Miss Clough 
was generous and enthusiastic : " Some people 
say unmarried women must become hard and 
self-centred, and she was just the reverse, so 
human, so full of interest in everything. She 
seemed to know what everyone wanted without 
being told. She asked me to dine with her 
and spoke to me about what I intended to do. 
How did she know ? I never told her." 

Very ready to applaud anything good said of 


another. She had a way (slightly reminding 
me of the W.'s), of stretching her chin forward 
to the person — man or woman — she spoke to, 
when very much in earnest. " But don't 
you think ? — But you do see, don't you ? — 
You partly agree ? " Looking up suddenly 
I found her eyes fixed upon me — she did not 
withdraw them but only smiled benignly, 
thereby giving the impression that her gaze had 
been a benevolent, not a critical one. 

This last touch, it will be remembered, 
comes into " Cecilia de Noel." There follows 
a sketch of a very different personality. 

Her way of speaking was accentuated by 
the liveliness of her feelings and opinions. 
These varied with great rapidity owing to an 
amiable desire of agreeing with everybody, 
and to that peculiar machinery of the disposi- 
tion that impels its possessor to agree with 
views before he has time to know exactly what 
they are. " Oh, I quite agree with you," 
she would cry as from the very depth of con- 
viction to the converse of some proposition 
that a few minutes before she had approved 
with equal enthusiasm. This almost mecha- 
nical impulsiveness was varied by what, after 
cries of interest, seemed a pensive solemnity. 
In this tone she would discourse on the beauty, 
wisdom, or importance of places, things, people 


— her own friends and connections — of which 
and of whom the listeners were ignorant. 

Her opinion she gave with some authority ; 
it might be inaccurate, but it was never un- 

Good-nature produced bounty. Sometimes 
it would carry her to a very high level of moral 
generosity. Then weakness allying itself with 
good-nature led her to absurd lengths in the 
way of spoiling certain people, confirmed by 
a love of patronage. Was often almost rude, 
partly from want of imagination, and in conse- 
quence from want of tact. Capable of visiting 
her irritability on the meek, while afraid to 
hold her own with the insolent. Her good- 
nature, egoism, and weakness dramatically re- 
presented by the houseful of spoilt servants, 
and her impertinent and ungrateful maid 
in particular. 

Miss S. — The character like the face has 
always its background — at least when seen 
by the portrait painter. Miss S.'s was entirely 
prosaic, and that not because her life's work 
was to keep a boarding-house. Had she re- 
sided in a palace it would have been the same. 
Her shadow itself was prosaic, and wherever 
it fell the beautiful and the ideal were at once 
obscured. She was short and slight, brisk 
and alert, with a vivacity that contrasted with 


her worn face and grey hair. She was subject 
to undue excitability under the influence of her 
own tongue. She never described or related 
anything without raising her voice as she pro- 
ceeded to an unpleasant pitch and interjected 
her sentences with an ear-piercing laugh, for 
she had that love of the facetious which is so 
much more common than, and so incompatible 
with a sense of humour. Her spirits were a 
little forced, a manifestation of the pluck which 
was a quality of this wiry little person, fighting 
her way without champion or comrade through 
the thorny working world. 

She lacked the grace that smooths the way. 
Of charm she was entirely destitute. She re- 
marked one day, " I make so many enemies. I 
have a great many — some have never seen me." 

" Then how can they be your enemies ? " 

" Oh, people say things. A lady came here 
once. 4 Why, Miss S.,' she said, ; you are quite 
different from what I expected. I thought 
you were horrid. The Blanks said so.' " 

On the other hand, she made some friends, 
superior to herself and admirably loyal. The 
basis of their and her characters, that sincerity 
which is drawn to sincerity, for Miss S. had 
the qualities of her defects and could not feign 
to be what she was not, even to advance her 
own interests. 


With much clear sense and practical shrewd- 
ness she had a strain of singular naivete often 
observable in persons whose view of life has 
not been enlarged by culture, not even that 
slighter culture that novel-reading supplies. 
Neither her own observation nor that of any 
other person had revealed to her the best 
known forms of human weakness and the 
almost proverbial manner in which those 
weaknesses are displayed. Her moral sense, 
however, if neither wide nor deep, was distinct 
enough and more trustworthy than that of 
many a more complex and highly strung char- 
acter. One felt the loss was her own if the 
instinct of devotion had been denied and eyes 
whose range of earthly vision was so cramped 
could not be lifted to the hills or stars. 

Lady D. — Lady D.'s was a character de- 
lightful and interesting to the novelist because 
it epitomised itself in action, as the story-teller 
should for ever strive that his characters should 
do. How far more potent than the verbal 
statement that Lady D. was compounded of 
self-confidence and great and utter incapability, 
is one of the many anecdotes treasured of her 
friends, of her insisting on giving the medicine 
to an invalid, giving it at the wrong time, 
slopping it over and pouring out the wrong 


Lady D. was one of those persons who make 
a pleasure of grieving; she was generally in 
mourning of this sort for somebody or some- 
thing, and with such woe filled up the vacant 
spaces of her life. Conceit becomes injurious 
to others when allied with marked incapacity. 
This unhappy combination made her a thorn 
in the flesh to all her neighbours. 

A Neighbour. — The main object of his 
visit was to unfold a grievance. Of these he 
always had one on hand, which distracted him 
none the less because it appeared to others 
hardly worthy of notice. Importance, like 
size, is comparative, and a storm in a teapot 
is serious enough to the being whose horizon is 
circumscribed by the sides of the pot, whose 
firmament rises no higher than the teapot lid. 
His peace was shattered by the minor troubles 
that each week brought in its train. A volume 
from the parish library was missing, the school- 
children refused to attend a Bible-class because 
the roads were dirty, the bellringers would not 
ring, trials on which he dwelt with sighs and 
smiles of tragic bitterness. He had not Lady 
D.'s taste for grieving. He really suffered. 
He was one of those persons who is always 
kept well informed as to everything disagree- 
able that is being said of them. X. for example 
is never told that J. says he is mean or bad- 


tempered or what not, and would be perfectly 
indifferent if he were, but W. attracts these 
confidences, receives them with credulity and 
writhes under them. 

The real bona-fide fool is not stupid or silly 
— necessarily. He may be clever. He is 
always conceited and never learns from ex- 
perience. Over and over and over again, he 
puts his hand into the fire and is burned — 
because he never can see that it is his action 
which produces the burn. It is the water in. 
the other room, or some spiteful person some- 
where else. 

Sketch. — Laughter louder than the occasion 
seemed to require, and the laugh itself was of 
the untrained timbre. Wore heel-less shoes. 
Lolled back with his arms crossed behind his 
head while telling a story to ladies standing. 
Joke with young lady, rather servant-hallish. 
" Wipes his brow." Touches, pulls, pushes. 



A charming story by M. E. Hawker, entitled 
" A Piece of Old China," appeared in the English 
Magazine in December 1888. The motif itself 
is commonplace enough. A misunderstanding 
caused by the miscarriage of a letter, a discovery, 
a reconciliation brought about by the sudden 
sight of a piece of delft ware. The charm lies, 
as we should expect, in the group of characters, 
the sweet yet not insipid girl, the diffident 
suitor, the hard, grasping woman of means 
and fashion, and the art lies in the direct telling 
of the story, in the dramatic use made of slight 
incidents and in the swift reaching down to 
something below the surface, when the pros- 
perous, middle-aged man waiting for his old 
love in the shabby room where he has found 
her after fifteen years, sees her as the door 
opens, withered," like a flower that fades in 
its prime for lack of sunlight." 



" The old love was, as Charles had foreseen, 
unmistakably herself, but she was worn, she 
was haggard, she was so plain as to be almost 
ugly. Oh ! if Miss Anstey could but have 
seen her, how she would have laughed such 
a rival to scorn." 

(Miss Anstey is the daughter of the stingy 
employer, whose purchase, after much beating 
down, of the piece of old china, has given the 
clue to the rich merchant.) 

" But she would have deceived herself, for 
at sight of this poor wan face, Charles's love 
did not falter, no, not for a moment, for it 
was at white heat, when all human affections 
merge into something like the one we rank the 
highest. Charles forgot at this instant almost 
as entirely as her mother might have done, 
whether she were pretty or ugly and saw only 
with such yearning as her mother might have 
felt the marks she bore of long-suffering and 

It was now that Marie Hawker was ripe for 
achievement, that an inspiration came to her, 
which gave a striking subject to her practised 
technique. When she wrote Mademoiselle Ixe 



she had never even known a Russian. A 
strain of music first awoke the keen sympathy 
which inspired the story. Her own music 
was very remarkable. Her execution was not 
only finished and excellent, but she had a 
beautiful touch and possessed in a marked 
degree the power of arousing feeling by her 
playing. She heard a Russian air played upon 
the zither. She describes it in Mademoiselle 

" The spirit thus revealed was anguish that 
cannot rest, torment that sees no outlet on 
earth, no comfort in heaven, the shadow of 
an unrighteous and pitiless dominion in which 
the hope of generations had fainted and their 
faith had waxed dim." 

How terrible, she felt, must be the national 
experience of which such a Volkslied was the 
outcome. It sent her to the writings of Tur- 
guenieff and Stepniak. Among the papers lies 
a long cutting, two columns, from the Times 
of February 28, 1890, marked and scored 
by her hand. It is the shocking story of the 
brutal ill-treatment of Madame Solnzoff- 
Kovalsky in the Kara prison in Eastern Siberia, 


the flogging of Madame Sihida, by order of 
Baron Korf, the Governor-General, so that 
she died two days after from the effects, the 
suicide by poison of the other female prisoners, 
and the attempted suicide (successful in two 
cases), of thirty male prisoners. The ghastly 
tragedy took place in November 1889. It 
had appeared in the Times early in February 
and was now fully substantiated. Marie was 
moved throughout her whole being. The 
Liberal principles which expressed the whole 
bent of her nature were set on fire, and it was 
out of the fulness of her heart that this chord 
evoked by "la grande et triste symphonie de 
la terre russe " was sounded from the peace 
and safety of her English home. 

The book was probably written very quickly, 
bearing as it does all the marks of having 
been produced at white heat. It appeared only 
a year after the events which had touched her 
so profoundly, yet it had time to go through 
many travels and to be refused at the hands 
of one publishing firm after another. 

Mademoiselle Ixe was of an awkward length ; 
too long to be considered a short story, not 
so long as the ordinary novel, and for this 
reason, and also because its author had no 


knowledge of how to set her wares before the 
market, it was long in meeting with a welcome. 
One of the foremost critics of the day declared 
in a letter which lies before the present writer 
that Mademoiselle Ixe will not suit anyone 
he knows. " She is too violent a lady. It 
is not the style but the substance that goes 
against it." The very appearance of the manu- 
script as it travelled from one publisher to 
another, growing torn and dilapidated, was 
enough to condemn it. 

" And yet," she would say to that sister who 
was her dearest confidant, " I feel that it is 
good" and when at last hope had almost 
vanished, it was not so much the failure of 
her story that vexed her as the fear that 
perhaps, after all, her judgment and her per- 
ception were radically at fault. " I will send 
it once more," she said, " and that shall be the 
last time." It went to Mr. Fisher Unwin; he 
recognised the intense vitality of its character- 
drawing, and would not risk injuring it by 
having it lengthened. He was inspired to 
create an issue to suit it, the Pseudonym 
Library, and seldom has a publisher's insight 
been more amply rewarded. The pseudonym 
behind which Marie Hawker sheltered herself 


was derived from her father's name, Lanoe, 
while Falconer is of course a paraphrase of 
the family name. 

The appearance of the little volume was 
awaited by Marie's mother and sister with 
what the latter can only describe as " deadly 
anxiety," for though its success was no sur- 
prise to them, it was impossible to answer for 
the public, and they dreaded the effect on her 
of the possible failure of what she had said 
should be her last effort. She herself, always 
reticent about expressing her feelings in words, 
said very little of her expectations. She 
seemed quietly confident, yet the fact that no 
notes are left of this time of waiting indicates 
perhaps that she felt the less she thought of 
it, or said what she thought, even to herself, 
the better. But success was instant. The 
reviews were almost unanimous in its favour, 
but the public seemed even before the reviews. 
Mr. Gladstone, to whom the little book was 
given by Mrs. Drew, was one of the first to 
recognise its merits, and his appreciation, his 
enthusiastic praise, reported in print helped to 
call immediate attention to it. Everyone was 
reading it, asking for it at the libraries, buying 
it, waiting impatiently while fresh impressions 


were being printed. " People on all sides are 
telling me to read her," writes Lady Camilla 
Gurdon, " my booksellers delaying till yester- 
day afternoon to send her to me, because she 
was out of print. It is so pleasant to think 
of your book being snatched up and read by 
everyone as it ought to be. I cannot tell you 
what a delight your success is to me. . . . The 
description of my darling Hurstbourne went 
straight to my heart and gave me a thrill of 

One of the first letters came from her old 
friend, Lady Portsmouth : 

Eggesford, March 6, 1891. 

My dearest Marie, — Three lines of very 

hearty congratulations on the success of your 

book — Great success. You are in every way 

worthy of success and I am glad you have it. 

— Affectionately yours, 

E. Portsmouth. 

Another old friend writes : "It recalls a 
wonderful letter that you wrote to me when 
you were a child, of a journey you took. You 
described so vividly and minutely the incidents 
that happened that I kept it for years" 


The welcome accorded to Mademoiselle 
Ixe was received with exultation and delight 
by Marie's devoted family and with unaffected 
pleasure and relief by herself, but she was very 
quiet about her feelings, and her sister, hurry- 
ing home from wintering in Egypt to a sick 
child, found " the distinguished authoress," 
as her family began jestingly to call her, 
besieged by details about new editions, disre- 
garding letters of remonstrance from her pub- 
lishers on her dilatory attention to their 
demands, and absorbed in her charge of the 
ailing baby. 

Mrs. Harry Hawker was now able to read 
the many reviews which she had missed in 
Egypt, and when she was unable to conceal her 
emotion over these very gratifying tributes, 
Marie put her arm round her, saying with a 
smile, " You see you were right, O my first 
and firmest supporter." 

Two things she most coveted were granted 
to her — French and Russian recognition. The 
letters she received from Mme. Darmesteter, 
sending her a message from M. Taine, are 
printed on a later page. The Russian tribute 
came in a different form : a friend sent her 
a copy which had been recovered from the 


censor's hands ; page after page was blacked 
out, and finally the word that showed it 
was tabooed was scored across the whole 

The first money she received from her pub- 
lishers, an instalment of £10, was forwarded 
by her to Stepniak for the Russian exiles, and 
from him and from M. Felix Volkovsky she 
received warm tributes of gratitude for her 

" The best short story in the English lan- 
guage " — that is what Mademoiselle Ixe has 
been called. The present writer asked one of 
the most distinguished of living critics, how 
far he thought such praise was justified. It 
was hard to say. He thought of one or two 
which might be placed before it, but added 
at last, " at any rate it is a very good second." 

Sir A. Quiller-Couch reviewed it as the work 
of " a new writer filled with love of her fellow- 
beings." He particularly admires the early 
pages and the pictures of ordinary life, but 
makes the criticism that the catastrophe does 
not come into the same plane ; we submit, how- 
ever, that this is just what this kind of tragedy 
involves. In one moment all the bright 
domestic life is shattered by a pistol-shot, and 


from the rooted calm of the English household 
and its trivial gaieties we come face to face 
with the deep despair of a nation. The only- 
thing we cannot believe is that such a cap- 
able, cool-headed person as Mrs. Merrington's 
Russian governess would not have killed her 

It is a book one cannot read without a sense 
of its power and reserved force ; so many 
qualities are shut in so small a space, the 
humour and pathos never fail to move, how- 
ever often one reads it. There is not a person 
who does not help the action ; such trifling 
incidents as the soldier being the one to fly 
up the stairs, when all the rest of the party 
stand aghast, and to snatch the smoking pistol 
from its owner's hand, are carefully studied and 
significant. What a cipher, what a puppet the 
young girl of the story would have remained 
in many hands ! But here, Evelyn, with her 
true, pure, fearless character, deepening under 
the influence of a sterner nature and an insight 
into the tragedy of life, convinces us, perhaps 
more than anything in the book, of its author's 
creative power. 

Yet with all its admirable construction, its 
masterly disposition of incident, there is no 


visible trace of mechanism. Every event is 
rooted in character and idiosyncrasy. As it 
happened it seems the most natural thing. 
" How large and powerful," says one of her re- 
viewers, "is the main conception. The introduc- 
tion into the order and quiet of long-established 
English life, of one of those strange and 
fascinating personalities whom we hear of 
distantly, as ascending the steps of a Russian 
scaffold, or enduring the gloom of a Siberian 
penal settlement — such beings will be more 
real to us for ever, and yet if Mademoiselle 
Ixe and her fatal purpose could disappear 
from the story, the rest could still hold its 
own ; so enjoyable, so full of masterly touches 
is the drawing of the everyday characters 
and episodes against which the figure of the 
heroine is relieved." 

The opening scene, in which Mrs. Merrington 
and the vicar's wife discuss the accomplish- 
ments, the nationality, and the religious views 
of the new governess, has a quiet satiric vein 
running through it that makes us think of 
Miss Austen. Mrs. Cosmo Fox, too, the flippant 
woman of fashion who becomes an unconscious 
instrument in Mademoiselle Ixe's hands, is 
drawn to the life. And to the genuine creative 


power is added an admirable style, finished, 
restrained, full of vitality : a style which 
never challenges attention, but is always 

The fact of the identity of Lanoe Falconer 
did not dawn upon the neighbourhood for 
many months, in some cases not for years. It 
was not till the following year that her name 
came out, and everyone began to ask her re- 
lations how they were connected with the 
authoress and to express interest and sur- 
prise. Her brother used jestingly to com- 
plain to her of the tone he encountered : a 
certain amount of surprise he allowed was 
natural, even gratifying, but he saw no 
reason why his acquaintances should be 
struck almost speechless with astonishment 
on learning that he had a sister possessed 
of some talent. " Good Heavens ! your 
sister, old man ? How extraordinary ! " This 
he thought was going a little too far and 
he begged Marie to attend to the matter, 
which she kindly undertook to do. 

In the meantime Mademoiselle Ixe rushed 
through one edition after another, and the 
following are among the letters received by 
its author : 


From Lady Camilla Gurdon 

Grundisburgh Hall, Woodbridge. 
March 6, 1891. 

My dear Marie, — I think I must tell you 
what my bookseller said to me in answer 
to an enquiry as to how Mademoiselle Ixe 
is selling. " By the cartload ! " said Mr. 
Stott. " We sell them as fast as we can get 
them in. Now tell me about the author ; she 
must be an old hand at it to write so well, so 
concisely, with such fine touches. Her repu- 
tation is made ! I know I should be very 
glad to publish any of her works." 

His name is David Stott, in Oxford Street. 
Do you know him ? A publisher and book- 
seller and a personal friend to his customers — 
giving excellent advice and sometimes re- 
proof. The Duchess of Cleveland, he said the 
other day to Beatrice, calls Rudyard Kipling 
" pretty," but her taste and mine differ and 
/ tell her he's very vulgar. It is curious 
you should have wondered whether your 
readers caught your sympathy for Liberals 
(Russian or otherwise). I gave Mile. Ixe 
to W. 1 to read and that was the first exclama- 
tion he made — " What a good Liberal she 

1 Sir William Brampton Gurdon, M.P. 


is ! No one but a good Liberal could have 
written such a book as this ! " 

What I am longing for you to publish is 
those charming Hampshire sketches of the 
old people, that you tell so inimitably. — Ever 
yours affectionately, 

Camilla Gurdon. 

From Mme. Darmesteter to Mr. Fisher Unwin 

9, Rue Bara, Paris. 

Dear Mr. Unwin, — In a literary life there 
are many pains and few pleasures. Therefore 
tell Lanoe Falconer that M. Taine — the august 
himself, to whom I lent her book, finds it 
extremely interesting and well written — in 
fact, full of promise. 

From the Same 

Many thanks, dear Miss Hawker, for your 
kind little note of which I shall immediately 
inform my friend, Mme. Pa vis — en effet, you 
could not have a better introducer to the best 
circle of French letters. 

I hope that you will one day follow your 
book to Paris. Any day in December, January, 
February, March (up till Easter), May and 


June, you will find me faithful to my teapot 
at five o'clock. Need I say how pleased I 
should be to make your acquaintance and to 
present you to many persons familiar with 
Mademoiselle Ixe and soon to be acquainted 
with Cecilia de Noel. — Sincerely yours, 

Mary Darmesteter. 

From Mrs. Harry Drew 

March 24, 1891. 

Dear Miss Hawker, — Many thanks for the 
enclosed. How carelessly reviewers dispose 
of their subjects. . . . 

When I was in London the other day, I 
heard that the person who sympathised with 
me most strongly in valuing the story was 
Lady Frances Balfour — married to the Chief 
Secretary's younger brother. I gave it to 
the Chief Secretary's secretary, Mr. George 
Wyndham. He read it when going round 
the distressed Irish districts and gave it to 
Mr. Balfour. I thought it might amuse you 
to hear any little facts about your baby, for 
it is just like having a baby, having written 
a book. — Ever yours sincerely, 

Mary Drew. 


The country home of the Merringtons is 
drawn in many of its essentials from Hurst- 
bourne Park, but, true to the author's methods 
of never giving a mere transcript of place or 
person, the staircase on which the culminating 
event takes place is that of Rickmansworth 
Park, a house in Hertfordshire belonging to 
her friends the Birches, on which still hangs 
the great piece of tapestry which is mentioned. 
"It is here," said Marie to Mrs. Birch, "that 
I visualised the scene." 

For Mademoiselle Ixe Miss Hawker received 
over £470 in royalties alone. 



Before Mademoiselle Ixe appeared, Cecilia de 
Noel, the book which Marie spoke of as 
" her own child," was already in the hands 
of Messrs. Macmillan, placed there by her 
friend, Miss Gertrude Ireland Blackburne, 
who, upon the MS. being shown her by Miss 
Hawker, exclaimed at once, " This is pure 
gold." The head of the house of Macmillan 
was not behind her in his appreciation. 
" There is no question," he writes, " of the 
talent of the book. Whether the public will 
recognise it as quickly as it should do, I do 
not feel certain, but if they fail to do so, it 
will be their own blame and no fault of the 
book itself." The public did not fail, and 
Cecilia de Noel very much enhanced Marie 
Hawker's reputation. It was less light, and 
for its appreciation closer application was 
needed, but the discussion and interest it 
aroused were widespread and lasting. It is, 



it will be remembered, an account of a few 
days spent in a country house, haunted by 
a very terrible ghost which impresses those 
who see it as being " a lost soul." It can 
hardly be called a story, and proves how very 
much deeper than the wont of ordinary fiction 
was the trend of the author's feeling; but 
though the leading idea is to use a haunted 
house as the occasion of testing the spiritual 
value of various kinds of religious creeds, there 
is no effect of her having gone out of her way to 
drag abstruse questions of religious theology 
into a work of imagination. The book tells the 
impression the ghost made on seven different 
people. Out of deference to the author's 
admirable handling we find ourselves assent- 
ing to the ghost. She never attempts to ex- 
plain it ; in fact, we are left in some doubt 
as to whether there is really any ghost at all, 
or if the frank unbeliever in the story is right 
when he asserts that it only appeared to those 
persons who were expecting to see it. For 
the interest does not lie in the ghost but in 
the effect it produces on one after another of 
the people it visits. With a satire that is 
always easy, kindly and, in the best sense, 
urbane — a satire that does not mar, but rather 


emphasizes, the tenderness of feeling — you are 
let into the religious and non-religious con- 
ceptions of these characters. 

Sir George Atherley, a scientific atheist, 
opens with a very effective discourse on the 
creed of science which he believes should satisfy 
all reasonable desires, on the pitiless precision 
and accuracy of the natural energies to which 
alone he subscribes, and on the entire absence 
of any trace of mercy and love to be discerned 
in these methods. The young doctor who 
holds a conversation with him believes in 
ghosts just as he does in all other symptoms 
of his patients. He has no hope of escape 
from the blind destiny from which we suffer 
here, though if he has had his weak moments, 
if his conviction has ever wavered, it is when 
he has come into contact with some beautiful 
and noble life. 

The kind, religious woman holding stern and 
narrow Evangelical views has long before seen 
the ghost, and by the look in its eyes has 
been awakened to a sense of what sin is and 
of its eternal and unrelenting punishment 
in the hereafter: 


And as she spoke the listener had a vision 


of the kind that drives men to madness and 
despair. In its shadow the colour of the 
flowers was quenched and the music of the 
birds rang false. Yet it wore the consecration 
of time and authority. What if it were true ? 
But as he quailed before that spectre a little 
child's hand was placed in his. ' By that little 
human touch the spell was broken, and looking 
into the child's eyes, I felt it was a lie.' " 

Canon Vernade, the impressive, prosperous 
dignitary, so self-confident, so rightly self- 
confident, is an equally convincing creation. 
His brilliant, eloquent sermon, delivered in 
a voice of wide compass whose varying tones 
he used with the skill of a practised orator, 
and his repudiation of the preposterous persons 
who can believe in ghosts after the Education 
Act has been in force all these years, are par- 
ticularly impressive to his more commonplace 

Then there is the High Church priest, full 
of belief in the supernatural, holding as a 
revelation of the Church the eternal separation 
from the Divine Being of those who have failed 
to secure salvation while on earth, looking for 
a Lawgiver and a Judge. 


And last comes the fine lady with her new 
and spiritual religion, the latest of a long line 
of creeds by which she has been caught from 
time to time, the peculiar advantage of which 
is that it has " nothing to do with God." 
Under it people develop powers that are really 
marvellous. They can " see into another world 
as plainly as you can see this drawing-room 
and talk as easily with spirits as I am talking 
to you." And so you get Atherley's gospel 
and Mrs. Mostyn's gospel, and Canon Verdane's 
gospel and the rest. The scientist, the sceptic, 
the evangelical, the sleek, self-confident cleric, 
the ascetic young ritualist — the ghost tries 
the mettle of all these in turn, and all in turn 
have their complacency shaken, their rags torn 
from them, their dread of the unseen em- 
phasized. The fashionable, godless gospel of 
the fine lady faddist fails her under the test, yet 
no one, neither priest, nor layman, nor woman, 
is inspired with any spark of pity for a kindred 
spirit doomed to everlasting woe. In each 
case the visionary only thinks of his or her 
own soul and of guarding or rescuing it. 

After all, in their degree and in their char- 
acteristics, fashions have undergone the ex- 
perience, we learn from Cecilia what the author 


believes the gospel should teach us. The 
whole attitude is changed. What, she thinks, 
if the poor spirit came longing for help and 
forgiveness ? How dreadful, then, that other 
beings should turn from it instead of going 
to meet and comfort it. Her story is told in 
a way that is at once powerful and pathetic : 

" When I said my prayers I asked especi- 
ally that, if it should appear to me, I might 
have strength to forget all selfish fear and try 
only to know what it wanted. And as I 
prayed the foolish shrinking dread we have of 
such things seemed to fade away, and after 
that came to me that lovely feeling which we 
all have sometimes ... as if one's heart 
were beating and overflowing with love to- 
wards everything in this world and in all the 
worlds ; as if the very grasses and stones were 
dear, but dearest of all, the creatures that 
still suffer. . . . And as if this were something 
not our own, but part of that wonderful Love 
above us, about us, everywhere, clasping us 
all so tenderly and safely. . . . 

" It was so sweet that I knelt on, drinking it 
in for a long time ; not praying, you know, 
but just resting and feeling as if I were in 
heaven, till all at once, I cannot explain why, 


I moved and looked round. It was there at 
the other end of the room. It was . . . much 
worse than I dreaded it would be ; as if it 
looked out of some great horror, deeper than 
I could understand. I was afraid — so much 
afraid. I only wanted to get out of sight of 
it. And I think I would have gone, but it 
stretched out its hands to me as if it were 
asking for something, and then of course I 
could not go. So, though I was trembling a 
little, I went nearer and looked in its face. 
And after that I was not afraid any more. I 
was too sorry for it ; its poor eyes were so 
full of anguish." 

Cecilia, whose character is really finely 
sketched, succeeds in dissipating the awful 
spiritual loneliness of the sinner who had 
broken the bond between himself and all other 
creatures and restoring the being of her vision 
to the hope of a higher life. " If the last 
chapter does not take the reader by the throat," 
says one of the reviewers, " I am inclined to 
pity him." Here is the end of the vision : 

" I said, ' Why did you not turn for help to 
God ? ' Then it gave a terrible answer : it 
said, c What is God ? ' And when I heard 


these words there came over me a wild kind 
of pity, such as I used to feel when I saw my 
little child struggling for breath when he was 
ill, and I held out my arms to this poor lonely 
thing, but it shrank back, crying : 

" ' Speak to me, but do not touch me. I am 
all death, and if you come too near me the 
death in me may kill the life in you.' 

" But I said, ' No, Death cannot kill the life 
in me, even though it kill my body. Dear 
fellow-spirit, I cannot tell you what I know ; 
but let me take you in my arms ; rest for an 
instant on my heart, and perhaps I may make 
you feel what I feel all around us.' 

" And as I spoke I threw my arms around the 
shadowy form and strained it to my heart. 
And I felt as if I were pressing to me only air, 
but air colder than any ice, so that my heart 
seemed to stop beating, and I could hardly 
breathe. But I still clasped it closer and 
closer, and as I grew colder it seemed to grow 
less chill. 

" And at last it spoke again, and the whisper 
was not far away but near. It said : 

" ' It is enough ; now I know what God is ! ' " 

Even Atherley, though he declares justly 
enough that it is even easier to explain Cecilia's 


vision as a dream than any of the former ap- 
paritions, is represented as profoundly im- 
pressed by the spiritual courage and depth 
of her nature and the mere fact of the existence 
of such a nature. 

" An almost flawless gem," the editor of 
the New Review (Archibald Grove) writes to 
the author. " Perfect alike in conception and 
realisation. I have rarely read anything in 
which the sentiment is so deep and true with- 
out being mawkish. It is welling over with 
the best spirit of the age ! " "You have not 
written a ghost story," writes a friend, " bufc 
a story which is a ghost in itself. Not the 
actions of men and women, but their spirits 
moving about in worlds not realised, form the 
theme, and one can trace the ignorance, in- 
credulity, awe, and hope with which they 
severally turn to the unseen." " Mr. H. 
was here last night," writes Lady Camilla. 
"He had been reading Cecilia, and he said, 
4 That book has been a baptism to me.' I 
told him of your having said it contained your 
gospel, and was the message you had to give 
to the world, and he said, ' Yes ; the book 
is just that — a message to the world.' " 

Among the few letters of her own that have 


been preserved are two to her cousin, Mr. 
Henry Houndle, in which she explains her 
own idea in writing Cecilia de Noel: 

" I hope you will like Cecilia de Noel" 
she writes on September 1, 1891, "which 
comes out in October. 

" It is peculiar. An allegory as well as a 
story, and is an attempt to express my con- 
viction that in the goodness of human beings, 
especially of some exquisite characters, we 
possess a revelation which scientific criticism 
cannot account for or explain away. The 
motto from Browning on the title-page also 
in part explains my ' drift. 5 " 1 

She fancied the letter had miscarried and, 
later in the month she writes again : 


September 29, 1891. 

Dear Henry, — Since my letter did not 
reach you, I must repeat what I said therein 
concerning my next book, almost immediately 
coming out — Cecilia de Noel. 

1 " Through such souls above, 

God, stooping, shows sufficient of His Light 
For us i' the dark to rise by." 

— The Ring and the Book. 


As it is very " odd " and may, if it takes, 
arouse much speculation, I should like to 
explain to you that its chief import is this — 
that the only revelation which science cannot 
explain away is the revelation of goodness in 
the human character. The ghost which repre- 
sents the sinner may have no existence save 
in the imagination of those who saw it. I 
state both sides, leaving the question open, 
because I think it is of no consequence whether 
there are or have been such things as miracles 
or no. As to " Cecilia de Noel " — though 
she is a purely imaginary character and I have 
never met anyone exactly like her, I have met 
many near relations of hers, with a strong family 
likeness to her, your mother amongst others. 

Mrs. Molyneux's description of Cecilia ap- 
plies to her, especially the words — " Cecilia's 
pity is so reverent, so pure. No suffering 
could ever be disgusting or shocking to Cecilia. 
. . . The more humiliating it was, the more 
pitiful it would be to her ! — Your affec- 
tionate coz, Marie." 

Mr. R. H. Hutton (is he the Mr. H. mentioned 
above ?) reviewed the book in the Spectator 
— a review which gratified Marie extremely. 
He finds fault with her, however, in that she 


does not sufficiently realise that the highest 
and purest kind of love is potent to repel as 
well as to attract, and that those whom it repels 
may harden themselves, till the attitude of 
defiance constitutes an impassable gulf. The 
author would probably have rejoined that 
this was the attitude and the result which she 
intended, but it was bridged by the self-forget- 
fulness and love of a being whose life was 
modelled on the one perfect life ever given to 
the world. Principal Tulloch wrote to tell 
her that he had embodied her beautiful story 
in a sermon which he preached to a large 
congregation in Glasgow. Canon Ainger and 
other preachers took it as a book to be thought 
over, illustrating how all revelation is a mani- 
festation of Personality — the veiled truth ; that 
in love, spirit speaks to spirit, man speaks 
to man ; but how account for that love in 
man ? How account for that other Love that 
is able to speak to and to relieve the sorrow 
of the world ? The following letter from 
the author of John Inglesant is among her 

papers : 

Deanery, Salisbury, 
May 14, 1892. 

My dear Madam, — Your most gratifying 
and interesting letter was forwarded to me in 


London. I had no time to think of and 
answer it there, and even now I can do no 
more, I fear, than acknowledge it, but I do 
not like to wait longer before sending you a 
few lines of thanks. 

I am staying here over the Sunday and 
wish at any rate to begin a letter to you from 
here, as there seems a certain appropriateness 
in a message of peace and welcome dated from 
so exquisite a spot, the most perfect perhaps 
of all the stately and solemn homes of the 
English Church. As I sat in the cathedral 
this morning my mind was full of the consoling 
certainty that the veil that separates Free 
Thought and Revelation is of the thinnest 
possible texture and would vanish utterly away 
but for the miserable faculty we have of mis- 
understanding each other and of that still more 
appalling determination so common among 
so-called religious people that, having received 
the unspeakable gift themselves, God shall 
not manifest himself to any other man in any 
other way. 

I think Faith cannot be defined as anything 
belonging to mere assent in a dogma or sub- 
mission to authority — Faith must relate to 
Idea. This is the ideal truth which underlies 
the dogma, which gives it its power and 
vitality. Two conclusions seem to me to 









follow from the statement. First, it is a certain 
fact that in all history the source of Faith 
(so defined) is Free Thought. This was most 
strikingly the case in the history of the 
Founder of Christianity. Second, there is 
not a single dogma of Christianity, however 
strange and wild it may appear, but has some 
germ and basis of true Idea. Take Eternal 
Punishment, for instance, as perhaps the most 
extreme. This seems nothing but a some- 
what popular way of stating the undoubted 
fact of the pitiless sequence of conditional 
existence. Take the Trinity again : as I said 
some time ago in the Spectator, the Christian 
doctrine of the co-existence of the Eternal 
Son, seemingly so strange, is nothing but the 
Platonic doctrine of the Idea of Personality 
existing in the mind of God. Professor West- 
cott will, I think, agree with this. 

Then with regard to your own beautiful 
words and pleading for the sympathy of 
Humanity, we must remember who it was 
who said, " This is the first and great command- 
ment — to love God, and the second is like 
unto : to love thy neighbour as thyself. On 
these two commandments hang all the Law of 
the Universe and all the Insight of the Seers." 

And the Same who said this was the first 
who, in the whole world's history, reclaimed 


by kindness " a woman who was a sinner." Is 
there no allegiance due in this day of con- 
flicting voices to such a teacher as this ? 

Have you seen in the current number of the 
Church Quarterly an article on "John Ingle- 
sant ? " It is not interesting only as relating 
to that book, but as (from a distinctly Church 
point of view) recognising the fact that the 
Sacrament is greater than the creeds, and for 
the hope it expresses in the Sacrament as a 
" daysman " and peacemaker. 

I am going up to Keble College at the end 
of this week. I hope to see the author and 
will show him your letter. — Believe me to be 
very grateful for your letter and to be, Madam, 
Yours very sincerely, 

J. Henry Shorthouse. 

P.S. — Your signature suggests another bond 
of union. My mother was a Hawker of the 
Somersetshire people. The same family, I 
believe, as the Rector of Charles, Plymouth, and 
the late Vicar of Morwenstow, his grandson. 
I am considered to inherit her characteristics 
to some extent. 1 

Many other letters reached her, some of 

1 The Vicar of Morwenstow was a distant connection of the 
Hampshire Hawkers. 


which are given in a later chapter. Cecilia 
herself is a picture thrown out by contrast 
with the other sharply outlined personalities 
which are hardly less impressive. The children 
are delightful, amusing, and yet absolutely 
natural. Above all, the deep and touching 
sentiment, the speculative discussions which 
form the basis of the book are lit up and re- 
lieved by the humour which plays all through 
it. Mr. Hutton, in speaking of this, says that 
it gives a fascination to her slightest touches.. 
It is a humour which is almost too elusive 
for quotation. It belongs to the writer's in- 
dividuality, to her sense of the pathetic in life, 
and stands the true test of all humour : that 
it shall enlarge our sympathies, not narrow 
them. It has nothing in it of " the poison of 
mischievous contempt," nothing of that jocular 
criticism of human nature, with no heart in it, 
which is so commonly served up to us. 

Miss Hawker's personages have nothing to 
say in epigrams ; they are not the sort of 
people who know themselves to be amusing 
and have to live up to a reputation for saying 
smart things, nor are they observed and de- 
scribed with a temper verging on the spiteful 
— perhaps the commonest quality in woman's 


wit. She does not single out the old maid 
or the curate and make butts of them, she 
relies on no salient peculiarities or striking 
absurdities. Her humour is of the nature of 
Charles Lamb's or Jane Austen's. It plays all 
through her work just as it played all through 
her life, lambent, unforced, inevitable. Her 
work represents everyday people as seen by 
a humorously attentive eye, and it has all 
the breadth and geniality characteristic of the 
true brand of this rare quality. Charming, 
prosaic Lady Atherley, quite unmoved by an 
account of the dangerous ritualistic tendencies 
of the new High Church curate and only alive 
to the probability of his being an Austyn of 
Temple Leigh, in which case he ought to be 
asked to dinner, or placidly looking up from her 
knitting to beg a high-flown guest to defer her 
strictures on the Christian faith because the 
servants are just bringing in coffee and " might 
think it odd," is near akin to Lady Bertram, 
with her " do not act anything improper, my 
dears, Sir Thomas would not like it." Atherley 
himself, " a man's man " as he has been called, 
is an example, absolutely true to life, of the 
intellectual character whose sense of humour 
enables him to bear philosophically with and 


even to enjoy the sweet, matter-of-fact nature 
with which he is in daily contact. His slight 
chaffing of his wife, who fortunately for their 
domestic peace does not suspect him, never 
becomes ill-bred and is indicated with com- 
mendable restraint. 

The scene of the book is laid round Hurst- 
bourne Priors. A couple of miles beyond 
Longparish stands the old house to which 
she gives the name of Weald Manor. Deserted 
and damp as it then was, one could readily 
imagine a ghost looking over one's shoulder. 
" I have often sat with her on the Beggar's 
stile," says a cousin, " and looked across the 
river and to the village beyond ; just as she 
describes it." 




Very few of Marie Hawker's own letters have 
been preserved. The longest is one written to 
Mrs. Harry Drew, soon after the publication of 
Mademoiselle Ixe, in which she pays full tribute 
to the share which Mr. Gladstone's recom- 
mendation had had in promoting the success 
of her little book ; a success it must be recol- 
lected of a quite untried author, in no way 
known to the public. In the same letter she 
gives some interesting details of her methods 
of work : 

To Mrs. Harry Drew 

31 Upper Baker Street, London, 
February 20, 1891. 

Dear Mrs. Drew, — Your letter has fol- 
lowed me to London where I am paying a 
short and busy visit or I would have answered 
it sooner. 

I enclose all the Reviews that have reached 
me except your own and one which followed 



in the D.T. and which, being in a leading 
article, called still more attention to the book. 

Perhaps you saw it. It said Mr. Gladstone 
was the nearest approach to the literary patron 
we have in this age. I believe it, and it seems 
to me a good thing that it is so for more than 
me especially. I am glad to think other good 
judges (including Taine, the French critic) had 
commended Mile. Ixe, but I firmly believe it 
would never have been popular but for your 
kind intervention and the magic of Mr. Glad- 
stone's name. 

In answer to your question, I drew no single 
character from life — consciously at least ; but 
taken en masse the people were copied from 
those one meets in a country neighbourhood. 
Mile. Ixe herself was purely imaginary — 
evolved after reading Turgenieff, Stepniak, and 
other Russian writers or writers upon Russia. 

Her peculiar way of speaking was due to the 
fact that I always thought of her as speaking 
her most important speeches in French and 
translated them. 

Yes, indeed, music is a great joy and 
stimulus to me. It is chiefly to hear some 
that I have now come up to London. 

I have not written anything but slight 
sketchy stories, not having been much en- 
couraged by Mile. Ixe's reception ! ! Besides, 


my health, which has not been very good, has 
interfered a good deal with my work. 

I am now trying to finish a ghost story which 
in its incomplete form has been pronounced 
original. Unfortunately I have never learned 
to command the spirit of composition and can- 
not write on methodically like some people. 

With many thanks for your sympathy as 
well as for your help, — I remain, yours 
sincerely, M. E. Hawker. 

A letter was received from Mrs. Drew on the 

appearance of Cecilia de Noel : 

Hawarden Castle, 
October 13, 1891. 

Dear Miss Hawker, — Thank you very 
much for sending me Cecilia. I should always 
wish to read everything you write. You won't 
mind my saying I do not care for it as much as 
I do for Mile. Ixe. I think much of the talk 
very clever and good except perhaps the ser- 
vants. It is perhaps a peculiarity of mine to 
think it unnatural when servants are made to 
add or leave out all the h's and talk very 
vulgar English, because I think servants nowa- 
days talk just as we do. The difficulty is 
Cecilia. She is so led up to : the longing to 
meet her is so well maintained that when she 


comes she rather falls short. But I love the 
idea, though I am always prejudiced badly 
when it's a ghost story. You will forgive me, 
I trust. The " Violin Obligato " I think perfect. 
Have you read Seven Dreamers, by Glosson 
(American) ? Lovely, brimming with humour 
and pathos and so original. 

How sad Lord Portsmouth's death. — Yours 
very truly, Mary Drew. 

I shall much hope to see by the Reviews 
that I undervalue Cecilia. 

Some Emotions and a Moral has a very 
clever sentence or two, but is bad, don't you 
think ? x 

In her answer dated October 17, 1891, Marie 
take her friend's strictures in very good part, 
and goes on : 

" I agree with you that Emotions is not 
altogether satisfactory, but it is cleverly 
written. My mother says it has an Ibsenite 
atmosphere about it. . . . It pleases me to 
hear that anyone who is fastidious is interested 
in my stories — as readers in general, including 

1 This novel by Mrs. Craigie ("John Oliver Hobbes ") had just 
appeared in the Pseudonym Library, which finally ran to sixty-five 


the critics, appear to be anything but fas- 

" I am afraid that journalism is not favour- 
able to literature." 

The letters which Miss Hawker received 
from literary people are not many, but they 
are full of serious purpose and show how 
much thought had been aroused by her 
writing among those whose thoughts were 
worth hearing: 

From Mr. Fisher Unwin 

What do you call your new book, a novel 
or a story ? It is different from most works 
of fiction. You seem to have created a new 
form in literature. I have tried to make up 
my mind which of your books, if I had 
to choose, I would prefer to publish — Ixe 
or Cecilia — and I am still in doubt. But 
I am certain it was wise to publish Ixe 
first. ... To me your strong point is your 
vivid photographic pictures of society and 
characters. They come out so clearly, one 
knows them, and the readers must feel they 
are human beings and not creatures of fancy. 

I like Cecilia, not perhaps because it is 


the better book or better art, but that I am 
always attracted by works that discuss re- 
ligious and controversial questions. 

From Canon Ainger 

The Glade, Branch Hill, Hampstead, 
December 1891. 

Dear Miss Hawker, — It was a great pleasure 
(and surprise) to me to get your kind letter. 

Sunday afternoon was quite exceptionally 
wet and dreary and our ordinary congregation 
was reduced by at least one half in conse- 
quence, and I little thought that there would 
be any bird of the air to carry the matter on 
that occasion. I was preaching about the 
Pharisees and Sadducees who flocked to John 
the Baptist, and I said that some went doubt- 
less out of idle curiosity, but others in abject 
terror because they had heard that he seemed 
to speak of some terrible judgment coming 
upon the earth. I added that this was per- 
fectly true to nature ; for that men of the 
world and even advanced thinkers (like the 
Sadducees) were never so panic-stricken as 
at the thought of coming into direct, personal 
contact with the world of spirits ; and I added 
how admirably this had been illustrated in 
a recent story. I confess I hoped my allusion 


might awaken curiosity and interest in the 
book, though I little thought that a watchful 
friend of the author was below me. 

But if you will allow me to say so, you quite 
misinterpret my own conception of your " poor 
Canon " as you call him, and I demur utterly 
to the reply you made to the young girl whom 
you quote as having asked whether Canon 
Vernade was not " a very wicked man." In 
such a reply as " No ! we are all just as bad " 
lies, I humbly think, no virtue : because no 
real truth. I know only too well how incon- 
sistent I am ; how every Sunday I preach 
theories and standards of virtue and holiness 
which put my own self to utter and miserable 
shame. I know that I break my own rules 
and counsels a dozen times on my way home 
from church in thought and in word, and yet 
(though you will only, I fear, scorn me as 
another dupe) I do thank God that I am not 
as Canon Vernade : because he was a char- 
latan (as you have admirably drawn him) 
and was not sorry for it and did not struggle 
against it, and had in him no elements (as I 
understand the character) of growth or pledge 
of any final deliverance from his unreality. 
Whereas there are thousands — tens of thou- 
sands — of men and women, thank God, in the 
world who know themselves to be inconsistent, 


believing one thing and too often doing the 
opposite, yet who are living, because fighting 
against it ; and because they, 

" Rowing hard against the stream, 
See distant gates of Eden gleam, 
And never dream it is a dream." 

To teach that we are all bad together, and 
that all pretence of being good is a fond 
delusion, is (I fear I must say it) to wield a 
terribly deadly weapon, not to help the world 
on to better things. I so truly admire your 
books for the fine and rare quality they show 
— their humour (as delicate as it is rare), their 
style and their character-drawing, that I 
deeply lament a certain tone which to me at 
least leaves a certain bad taste in the mouth 
when I have finished them. 

Can you once more forgive me for this plain 
speaking ? You will be translating my motto, 
" Prepare for a sermon," as Lamb translated 
Coleridge's. — Yours very sincerely, 

Alfred Ainger. 

From the Same 

December 21, 1891. 

Dear Miss Hawker — Accept my best thanks 
for your full and kind reply to my (I fear) 


rather unguarded and ill-worded comments 
on your books. 

I am afraid you still misunderstand some 
of these, you still speak of your having " failed " 
in the character of Canon Vernade to make 
your point and meaning clear. I confess I 
think you have perfectly succeeded. To my 
mind he is one of the most consistent char- 
acters in the book and the most vigorously 
drawn. But when I demurred to your theory 
that we were all like him (and therefore, I 
submit, all worldly and heartless), I was only 
referring to your reply to your young friend 
who asked if he was not a " very bad man." 
I must submit that if we all preached unselfish- 
ness and generosity and yet sneered at our 
friends who did not " play their cards well " 
and who married for love instead of for money 
— we should be all worldly and heartless, and 
that a world of such people would inevitably 
fall to pieces in a generation or two from very 
rottenness. On your own admission, your 
answer to your young friend would be only 
just if you added, " We are all like him, ex- 
cept those of us who are not," and this modi- 
fication just makes the whole difference between 
us. I cannot agree with you that one Cecilia 
de Noel here and there marks the proportion 
of sincerity and goodness in the world. 



I ought not to have said " leaves a bad 
taste," for it is far too strong a phrase and I 
hasten to apologise and to explain. 

But I do mean that there is to me a certain 
tone, more felt than definable, in your books, 
of a patronising view as regards the influence 
of Christianity in the world — or a kind of 
pitying toleration of it, as if there was some- 
where a much better substitute for it, if people 
would but think so : and as if noble characters 
here and there might be indefinitely multiplied 
without it. Most assuredly I should not call 
your writings what you say the Guardian 
called them, but I suppose the reviewer must 
have meant that he felt a soupfon of the 
quality that strikes me as rather sad and 
rather hopeless. Do you really think that 
if the Gospel of Christ were " swept away," 
characters like your Cecilia de Noel would still 
remain and re-evangelise the world ? If that 
Sun were to set, certain recollections of it 
would survive, I doubt not, for a while, and 
light our steps : 

" The mournful light 
That broods above the fallen Sun, 
And dwells in heaven half the night/' 

But how about the second half of that night ? 
It must be surely a living Christ that can 


alone preserve a world in soundness and in 
vitality ! 

I very seldom, dear Miss Hawker, write 
these professional letters, but you seem to me 
to have such unfulfilled possibilities of helping 
the world by your writings that I venture thus 
to be so bold as to comment on a vein of 
cynicism that seems to me to endanger the 
good you might otherwise do. Once more 
forgive me. 

May the Christmas season remind us of all 
we owe to it. — Yours very sincerely, 

Alfred Ainger. 

It is evident that Marie in her broad and 
humorous toleration could not look upon 
Canon Vernade's shortcomings as seriously 
as did her correspondent. She saw him as 
the ordinary well-meaning person, whose per- 
ceptions were dulled and blinded by a long 
environment, ministering to his complacency 
and self-sufficiency. When she said " we are 
all as bad," she meant we should all be liable 
under the same circumstances to develop the 
same idiosyncrasies. 

The vein of cynicism on which Canon Ainger 
comments is discernible at this time. It is 


interesting to notice how entirely it disappears 
in after life, as her religious faith fills her whole 
being : 

From a Friend 

November 5, 1891. 

You will get tired of hearing from me after 
every book of yours, but it is quite impos- 
sible to read such a book as Cecilia de Noel 
without thanking you for it from my heart. 
I don't know what the world is saying of it, 
as I have been cut off from it by trouble for 
some weeks, but I know what the book has 
been to my own soul — a veritable oasis in the 
desert, a fountain of refreshment and healing." 

From the Same 

February 21, 1902. 

Ever since last Sunday I have been wanting 
to write to you. I often go to Mr. Prebendary 
Ey ton's church in Sloane Street. You may 
know of him as a prominent Broad Churchman 
and an interesting and suggestive preacher. 
Last Sunday he was preaching on " Which 
is the greatest commandment." Pointing out 
that more stress was laid nowadays on the 
supplementary command, " Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself," he added, " It 


is in the human that men now seek the Divine. 
They find their best revelation of God in a 
Cecilia de Noel." The preacher himself was 
not entirely at one with this tendency. Perhaps 
he could define (though he did not on Sunday) 
what it means to love God with heart and soul 
and strength, except as mirrored in the " holy 
human ghost." Anyhow I thought you might 
like to hear how, before an immense congrega- 
tion — much of the intellectual as well as social 
elite — he referred to your work as typical of 
a phase of the Zeitgeist. 

From Mr. Andrew Lang 

1 Marloes Road, 

October 9, 1891. 

Dear Madam, — I only chanced to open a 
parcel to-day containing Cecilia and have not 
yet read her, but I have heard her praises. 

Is not this she that rejected ? They 

were always dull people. 1 

As to Scott's ghost on whom I opened, I am 
not so sure he believed his own explanations, 
and he saw another ghost, which he could not ex- 
plain. It is not in Lockhart. — Sincerely yours, 

A. Lang. 

1 This stricture is amusing, as it was Mr. Andrew Lang who 
refused Mademoiselle Ixe } when acting as reader for Messrs. Arrow- 
smith, on the plea that she was "too violent a lady." 

From the Same 

November 2. 

Dear Madam, — Sir Walter's ghost he met 
as he was riding down the hill to Ashestiell 
before dinner. It was a tall figure in brown 
with a long staff, on a bare hillside. When 
he was within " a few yards " of it, it 
" vanished." He rode on, not looking back 
he saw it, he saw it again and rode up to it, 
Meme jeu. Then neither he nor the mare, 
Fenella, wanted to wait any longer. 

He heard also very sufficient rappings at 
Abbotsford when Bullock died in London. 
You will find this in Lockhart in the index 
under Bullock. Skene of Rubislaw saw Sir 
Walter's own ghost in 1864 — " he came from 
a long distance." 

I read Cecilia with much interest, but I am 
not sure she was not better before she got lost 
in theological discussion. 

This is apparently the taste of the period, 
however, she is very nice, if a little like 

u The Bandicoot, the Bandicoot, 
That wildly sympathetic brute." 

as an old writer says. — Sincerely yours, 

A. Lang. 


A short story, " Moonie," was written in 
1892 for Good Words, and its proposal and dis- 
cussion brought her several letters from Dr. 
Donald Macleod, the editor of the magazine : 

" I say most sincerely," he writes, " that 
there is scarcely a new writer whose works 
have impressed me more as bits of art, com- 
bining high aims, power, and finish, than yours 
have done. I am most anxious to have your 
help and to see you in our pages. 

• • • • • 

" I am sorry you speak of your own ' little 
health.' Never let me put it to a strain, but 
work if not excessive, is healthful — is it not ? 

" As to Louis Stevenson and his ' brownies,' 
there is a certain truth in it, but it has another 
side. In moments of real inspiration, when 
one feels it is given them to say something, 
work is delightful and the ' brownies ' are de- 
licious companions. But it is extraordinary 
how often instead of being our masters, we 
may make them our servants — by sitting down 
and with a pen compelling them to give aid. 

" I am often — to compare small things with 
great — at the end of a week without an idea, 
almost without a conviction and with two 
sermons to preach : anxious, God knows ! to 


have something to say to my people and for 
Him, and when I feel as dry as summer dust, 
I am tempted to say ' No use, must wait for 
the afflatus — must take an old sermon this 
time. 5 But it is extraordinary how, when the 
temptation is resisted and I sit doggedly down, 
something is given, which ends in great thank- 
fulness. You remember Anthony Trollope's 
definition of Genius. He was just too mechani- 
cal. Where is via media ? " 

Readers who have made acquaintance in the 
pages of Cecilia de Noel with Mrs. Martell, the 
cook who sees the ghost, will be happy to 
extend their acquaintance with that enter- 
taining if ungrammatical person. She made 
some conquests among Marie Hawker's readers, 
of which she had reason to be proud, but by 
Mrs. Drew, as we have seen, and others she 
was pronounced to be overdrawn and a cari- 
cature. We are assured, however, that she is 
the only character taken from life and that 
she is almost slavishly faithful to the original. 
Her manner of speaking and expressing herself 
was, no doubt, more common thirty-five years 
ago than in these more educated days, and 
surely nobody except nature could have in- 


vented Mrs. Martell, unless it were Dickens, to 
whose unfashionable and broadly humorous 
world she seems to belong. Miss Hawker's 
notebooks abound in recollections of her, and 
we can divine which were those pithy expres- 
sions which the Hawker family joyfully 
adopted. " So low ! " or " None of your flash 
words for me " are denunciations which must 
have been used with telling effect. 

We have here quite a biography of this 
eminent retainer : 

Mrs. Mallet, to give her real name, was not 
a native of the valley but on the ebb-tide of 
fortune had drifted thither from a neighbouring 
seaport after the death of her husband, a 
pensioner in the army, and as she herself de- 
scribed him, in the stately terms she affected, 
" an old warrior I " The old warrior's pension 
died with him, an arrangement naturally dis- 
pleasing to his relict. "It is my opinion," 
she would candidly observe, " that every 
female relation of a soldier should 'ave a 
pension." This being very far from the hard 
fact, Mrs. Mallet was compelled to augment, 
if not entirely to supply an income, by turn- 
ing her versatile hand to anything. In this 
manner did she enter upon the scene in colours 


that afterwards proved disastrously false — 
being imported by two young persons strug- 
gling to make both ends of small allowances 
meet, as a visiting dressmaker, and contriving 
speedily to convey them to the verge of bank- 
ruptcy. Yet even despair was mitigated by 
wiles that would have made her young victims 
smile upon the scaffold. She held them spell- 
bound by stories the local colouring of which 
was as rare as the descriptive powers of the 
teller. With an eye for the essential and a 
picturesque touch she would open out scenes 
of the humour of which she herself remained 
wholly unconscious ; scenes from spheres for 
ever closed to her hearers by the stern laws 
of social divisions. How many of these little 
Kodaks still linger in their memory and enrich 
with quotations their family vocabulary! 

Among them is the charming tale of Mr. 
Thomas Bunn who brutally refused to rise 
to that station to which the fortune of more 
genteel relatives beckoned him. What Mr. 
Thomas Bunn's actual calling was, besides 
that of going to market and getting drunk, 
was never made clear, but the marriage of 
his only sister to a neighbouring tradesman 
was a distinguished social step which should 
have put all the rest of the family on their 
mettle. Mr. Thomas Bunn, on the contrary, 


from first to last maintained a style of dialect 
and demeanour which in his sister's extremely 
genteel household gave him the air of a bull 
among a covey of partridges. 

Mrs. Mallet would imitate her sister's mincing 
voice. " Law, Thomas," she would say (not 
inexcusably) when he was eating straight 
from the joint before him, " Won't you have 
some cut and put upon a plate ? " " Naw," 
the incorrigible Thomas would reply, with 
his mouth full, " I don't want no plate. I'll 
take just what I wants, as I've a mind to." 

" So low ! " as Mrs. Mallet would inter- 
polate with a shudder. "When his small 
nephews come home so genteel from boarding- 
school, Mr. Bunn in his low way said to 
'em at dinner, c Wull 'e 'ave some more 
to eat, Bill ? ' and the little boy 'e answered 
so polite, ' No, uncle, thank you. I've 'ad 
sufficient.' ' None of your flash words for 
me,' says his uncle." 

Listening to these andother more idyllic tales 
in which Mrs. Mallet played leading parts as 
beauty, bride, and matron, one forgot to count 
the yards of stitching or to criticise too closely 
the erratic course of her scissors. Even the 
shock of " trying on " was mitigated by orig- 
inal forms of consolation. " Beautiful at the 
back ! " was the invariable exclamation when 


the more visible front was obviously in fault, 
while for blunders even more glaring she had 
an unfailing panacea, " a careless bow," a 
phrase she pronounced with such unction of 
look and manner as to suggest the ne plus ultra 
of artistic negligence. For Mrs. Mallet was 
not without artistic leanings of a bold and 
daring kind ; but because of the degenerate 
taste of a generation nourished on half-tones, 
her desire to see one of the family in " a black 
trimmed with h'orange," and another in a 
white pique piped with scarlet cord, remained 
unfulfilled. The actual as well as the ideal 
appeared to be transcended in her design for 
a bonnet trimmed all round with " little 
beadles," a word not to be accepted in its ap- 
parent sense, but as a term invented by Mrs. 
Mallet to indicate something between a bugle 
and a bead. 

Luck depriving the household of a cook, 
Mrs. Mallet graciously accepted the post with 
that cheerful readiness to undertake any re- 
sponsibility, however unfamiliar, which is one 
of the secrets of success in life. Mrs. Mallet 
proved to be almost all that could be wished 
in this new capacity. She could prepare plain 
fare palatably, she was honest and reliable, 
and her extreme dignity of demeanour in- 
spired a wholesome awe in the younger ser- 


vants. She always spoke of the tiny fishing 
cottage as " the mansion " and of its unpre- 
tending household as " the establishment." 
Her ideal was steadiness and gentility. 
"'H'Ann,' I says, 'come in this minute. I'm 
ashamed of you, laughing and talking like 
that with the workmen. Its so low,' " pro- 
nounced with an accent that should have 
impressed the dullest imagination. Her ex- 
hortations to this handmaid in particular 
afforded ample justification for what purists 
may consider her mismanagement of the letter 
" h " ; it produced a startling effect, like the 
report of a pistol. 

It was an inevitable part of gentility as 
understood by Mrs. Mallet that she should be 
exquisitely timid on every possible occasion, 
whether of a material or spiritual nature. It 
would be difficult to say whether ghosts or 
burglars most disturbed her delicate nerves. 
She was evidently of that temperament, better 
understood and appreciated in these days, 
which has a special attraction for spooks of 
all kinds. Her attic and the stairs approach- 
ing it became during her stay the scene of 
many strange manifestations. 

Mr. Fisher Unwin soon brought out The 
Hotel d'Angleterre and Other Stories, a col- 


lection which well maintained the writer's 
reputation. It is impossible to conceive any- 
thing slighter. Mr. R. H. Hutton, in reviewing 
these, says that the five sketches in the tiny 
volume are hardly to be called stories, but 
that they have a delicacy and finish that make 
them unique of their kind. Let no one fancy, 
he adds, that it is easy to produce such sketches; 
44 as easy to produce a humming-bird's feather, 
a butterfly's wing, a wren's egg." 

The distinct impression is produced out 
of materials so destitute of strong outlines, 
that many a writer, who would feel capable 
of interesting us in an exciting plot, would 
abandon this more delicate task in despair. 
But it is the natural genius of the author to 
paint on a cobweb and to paint with so much 
delicacy and precision that the scene which 
flashes for a moment before the mind's eye 
is more telling than an effective plot. A 
scene or two at the great Riviera hotel gives 
the contrast between the brilliant and per- 
emptory beauty who impresses her will on her 
mother and sister and most of her acquaint- 
ances, and the shrinking sensitive little foil 
who is so intent on effacing herself that she 
manages to strike the imagination of a man 


weary of egotism and the commonplaces of 
society. Equally lightly sketched is the 
dreamy child in the " Violin Obligato " (which 
some people think the best thing she ever 
wrote), whose soul goes forth in musical 
idealism, and who reads her own intensity of 
passion into the love affair of the superficial 
couple brought together by circumstance and 
mutual excitement, till she is almost shocked 
to death by the discovery that what had 
seemed so noble and elevated a feeling is 
short-lived and devoid of roots. Again a few 
touches and the contrast is drawn between the 
interest of the fussy, punctilious old gentle- 
man in the special umbrella which his light- 
minded niece had lost and the other eager girl's 
feverish terror lest the rainy day for her should 
mean the loss of the last opportunity of learning 
the feelings she had inspired in the man who 
had touched her heart. 

In every case, with the slightest excuse, 
some rare effect is produced by exquisitely 
light touches which portray the overruling 
feeling on the one side and the background 
of unpropitious circumstances on the other. 

The author has the art of introducing some 
very prosaic element into the picture. A 


valetudinarian old lady wrapped up in pre- 
cautions and the desire for " ozone," an im- 
patient domestic tyrant, or some conventional 
woman, like Mrs. Graham in the " Violin 
Obligato," who takes for granted that there 
is nothing ideal in the impulses of the human 
heart and is always pressing her prosaic sagaci- 
ties on the imagination of the young, and then 
against these commonplace subjects she 
dashes in the ardent and restless cravings of 
some passionate nature with a freshness and 
vividness of portraiture conveyed with as few 
strokes as possible, but with every stroke 
telling. There is no comment or reflection, 
and the picture is left to produce its own im- 
pression. The description of the little violin- 
player is clear and vivid. It was as if she had 
discovered in the music and now disclosed to 
others an alternate pathos and triumph which 
nobody had suspected. The singers, both of 
sensitive temperaments, answered to her touch ; 
they sang as they had never sung before, "till 
at the close . . . with the voice of the violin 
soaring and quivering above them the effect 
was such that Mrs. Vane, as she afterwards 
explained, 'felt a cold shiver run down her 
back. 5 " 


" My dear Svlvia," she then exclaimed, 
" that is exquisite ! The addition of the violin 
is the very greatest improvement, is it not, 
dear Mrs. Graham ? " 

" Yes," said the plump matron at the piano, 
looking kindly round on the performers, all 
slightly flushed with . the consciousness of 
success. 4i It is always a good plan to have 
more than one instrument to accompany 
amateurs, as it all helps to hide when they 
sing out of tune." 

With so few strokes she makes you feel the 
contrast between the prose of life and its poetry, 
between that disposition to fuss and potter 
about the passing incident which makes human 
life feel so narrow and wearisome, and the 
eager emotion which, while it lasts in the hearts 
in which it wells up, lifts life high above the 
level of trifles and immaterial details, into a 
vision where we seem to have something like 
a true insight into the significance of things 
eternal. It is the very slightest work, but it is 
fine art, exquisite of its kind in truth and 




Marie Hawker's notes at this time are less 
concerned with the success of her book or with 
praise bestowed upon it, than with those strict- 
ures and unconsciously humorous comments 
which struck her whimsical sense of the absurd. 

When favourable reviews appeared of a 
short story, she asked her sister if she thought 
the story was admired because it was good, 
or because it was written by the author of 
Mademoiselle Ixe — but added philosophically, 
" It is impossible to say, and after all it is 
no good being jealous of oneself." 

Her stepfather amused her by composing 
letters on her behalf to her publishers : " Little 
delicate letters," asking to see the accounts. 
"May I ask you out of mere curiosity," kc. 
(with a little laugh which it would be difficult 
to express in writing). 



Stepniak expressed the greatest admiration 
for her talent and for the services she had 
rendered to the cause of revolutionary Russia, 
and Volkovsky wrote to her that Mademoiselle 
Ixe might have been the work of a Russian 
Liberal but for the governess's speech to 
Evelyn about Parry's beautiful place, which 
he construed into a wish to induce Evelyn to 
accept him ; a baseness of which a Nihilist 
would not have been capable. 

The variety of the notes, and the way in 
which grave and gay are mingled, serve to 
mark in striking fashion their spontaneity 
and the absense of any calculated effect : 

Jim Fraser writes to ask how Mile. Ixe, who 
was not in the room when Mrs. Cosmo Fox 
told about the Count, could have known about 
it. My dramatic description failed to convey 
to him that Mile. Ixe was really in the doorway 
all the time. 

Miss Chichester said she thought Marie had 

Mr. C. said it seemed only a small book. 

The Frasers' criticism was that they found 
three typographical errors. This is like the 
bookseller who said it was an awkward shape. 


Mr. W. said he should always like Jael better 
than he had done. Mrs. H. asked if it were 
not rather a frivolous thing for me to write ? 
Thought Parry was rather like Harry Hawker, 
but added perhaps it was only that they were 
both fond of shooting. 

Colonel Tippinge could not imagine why 
the Russian censor had interdicted it. Could 
not imagine any single sentence to which they 
could object ! Such an exposure of Socialism ! 
Mrs. S. says, " I do like dear Marie's book so 
much, it shows so clearly what those dreadful 
people are capable of." 

The Star began by praising me — got a little 
sick of the fuss : finally when the fifth edition 
came out, declared there was nothing in it, 
neither style, plot, humour, nor anything else. 

Mrs. W. " Did so long to know what became 
of Mile. Ixe." 

Mr. S. said Mme. Novikoff admired Mile. Ixe 
very much, and Sir Pope Hennessy would not 
believe it was written by a woman. 

Macmillan's Party. — Getting amusing 
when we have to go. Mrs. G. M. hopes I will 
not mind her introducing a great many people, 
and introduces only one woman whose name 
I cannot hear. 

Kegan Paul mistakes me for Hawker of 
Morwenstow. Begins with moral that one 


should never leave one's publisher, ends with 
adjuration to come to him if I do so ! Glimpse 
of Hutton. On my way home read announce- 
ment of " Cecilia " in P.M.G. with title which J 
have not yet decided on. 

The Narrator's Art. — Narrators are 
scattered throughout the land, unconscious 
of their gift. They usually, however, lack 
any imagination, so they can only narrate what 
they have seen with divergence due rather to 
inaccuracy than fancy. If they had imagina- 
tion they would not tell so well, because they 
would not observe so much. On the wings 
of fancy, did they but possess it, they would 
be taught to soar from the solid earth of their 
daily round. A combination of close observa- 
tion of the actual and imagination is as rare — 
as rare — as a good novelist. Meantime if you 
analyse any graphic and fascinating account 
of the fullest and most commonplace episodes, 
you will find that the secret of their charm con- 
sists : 1st, that they are as concrete as possible ; 
2nd, that as much as possible is done by dia- 
logue : in other words, they are dramatic. 

Example. — I went to the dentist. He said 
I had delayed too long in coming and he would 
have to charge two guineas for stopping any 
tooth with gold, but with cement, just as good, 


only one. " Hum ! " he said when he had 
looked at my tooth, " When did you come here 
last ? " 

" I think it must have been in August." 

" No, it was not in August, for I was out of 
town then." 

" Well, perhaps, now I think of it, it was 
in July." 

" Nine months ago, and I always tell you 
to come and see me every six months." 

" I meant to — but it was not very con- 

" Well, the consequence is that the hole is 
very large, and if I stop it with gold it will cost 
you two guineas." 

" And could you stop it with anything 
else ? " 

" Certainly, with white cement." 

" And has gold any advantages over 
cement ? " 

None, except that it looks better." 
Oh, but that does not matter for a back 
tooth. I will have cement." 

This takes more time to tell and, if written, 
more space, but how much better. Probably 
dialogue is always interesting, if it is worthy 
of the name, because it reflects human char- 
acter, either of the individual or of the class. 
In this dull and commonplace dialogue a trace 


of humour is faintly perceptible in the position 
of prisoner at the bar in which the patient is 
placed and her feeble attempts at evasion. 
Then the dentist's instinct to take as much as 
he can get — which obliges him to find a reason. 
(Imagine his saying, " No advantage, except 
that I make more money over it.) A reason 
which is evidently no reason at all. 

The fact is, if we could kodak conversations 
and then leave out the repetitions and feeble 
aim at points before we hit them, they would 
be always interesting, because language so 
reveals character. But when we imagine con- 
versation, we are apt for lack of the recollection 
of character to miss the savour of the actual. 
By character, and by character above all things, 
is your tale made moving. 

Lady Atherley (in disguise) — speaking of 
the great general disadvantage of a girl having 
gone over to Rome — winds up, " And then there 
need not have been all this trouble about fish 
and eggs for Friday dinner." 

Prayers. — Lord Mount Temple visiting the 
dying Lord Cowper, " Shall I pray for you 
to-day ? " " Yes, one prayer and very short." 

Nemesis. — Miss Ogden, who, when rolls 
failed at breakfast at a big Scotch house, said, 


" Oh ! but I like stale bread better than any- 
thing," and for all her life afterwards whenever 
she visits that house she is regularly provided 
with " stale bread," while the others feast on 
hot scones. 

Poetry and Prose. — Lewis Morris reads 
his poem aloud in a country house. Solemn 
pause at the close, broken by Mrs. Williamson, 
" Do you take in the heels of socks in the same 
way as the heels of stockings ? " 

A Puritan Saint. — Eagle-faced, dark ;. 
large, open dark eyes. Something in shoulders 
and wrists and carriage of hands like my 
father's. All the purity, the unworldliness, 
the devotion of Austyn, without Austyn's 
austerity. Rather like an archangel incarnate. 
Admires Edna Lyall and Mr. Stead. Is cold 
to protection of animals — is appalled to think 
that much of the good done for the poor 
and degraded is done by unbelievers. The 
line between agnostics and believers, now so 
wavering and undefined, is hard and fast 
for him. 

Mlle. Ixe. — Lady N. observed that she 
would have liked Mile. Ixe better if she had 
been more open and had not entered the house 
under false pretences and an assumed name. 



" You were so severe in the c Rainy Day ■ 
on talking about the weather." 

" / was not. It was the fidgetty old gentle- 

" Yes, but of course one fancies you mean 
what your characters say." 

George Meredith makes everyone talk like 
himself — even the country squires. 

Lady Atherley's grief : " Yes, my dear, I 
feel that her life is blighted (do you take 
cream ?) and that there is no help for her." 

" K. was so troublesome, finding fault and 
asking for all sorts of things one had not got ; 
just like a servant from a big house." 

" The interesting man of the party was so 
charmed by — so set at ease by — the unin- 
teresting woman." 

Mrs. H. can cook but little, but has her 
chef-d'oeuvre — horse-radish sauce. Is affected 
by her own recollections of it. Describes 
impression made on various gentlemen. 

Miss G.'s Letter. — " The Duke has been 
most awfully nice to me and I see a great deal 
of him. He came right across from where he 
was sitting and stood for nearly an hour talking 


to me about all sorts of things. ... It was 
rather an ordeal, as all the dames of high degree 
who usually keep to their own sitting-rooms 
had come into the hall in hopes of the Duke 
noticing them, but to their great disappoint- 
ment he spent the whole of the evening talking 
to me and then went straight to his room. 

" I think I shall stop on another day or so 
before returning to Genoa, as the change is 
doing me so much good. I find myself so 
much more cheerful and able to look at things 
from a brighter point of view." 

July. — The rain has made the fields darkly, 
beautifully green — gives a lustrous beauty 
to the sky and an indescribable richness and 
depth of colour to the landscape. 

Totland Bay. — Growing on downs above 
the sea, harebells and white clover. The bare 
down line so firm against the sky, unbroken 
save for the thick close gorse fitting it like a 

Tapeley Hall, September. — Surprise when 
looking round from the terrace, I saw below 
and beyond the wood-covered slopes of the 
Park and the dark Italian pines, an inlet of 
the sea, grey beneath the reddening sky. Be- 
hind our meetings destiny usually sketches a 
picturesque, a rather melancholy background, 
as when my friend and I walked up and down, 


discoursing, from six till past seven we paced 
up and down a road overarched by trees, which 
at one point, just above a precipice, grew only 
on one side of the way, thus leaving unscreened 
to us a wide view of the bay and the ships and 
the curving coast — all in those sad, sweet tones 
of lilac and dove-grey. And over all the twi- 
light deepening every minute — till we hardly 
knew whether it was the scene which saddened 
our say, or our say which saddened the scene. 

A Rainy October Day. — The slow melan- 
choly waving of leafless boughs before the 
window and the sharp patter of rain upon the 
window pane, coming in gusts with the wind 
and beyond, the long and constant sighing 
of the storm in the air and in the chimney, like 
a stifled complaint. 

Totland Bay, July 1891. — Sky blue, 
streaked with mare's tails, so hot, a haze veils 
even the middle distance with a bloom such 
as one sees on purple fruit. The sea is crinkled 
with ripples, blue which looks green against 
the blue sky, and by some play of water, 
some drifting of clouds, the sun plays upon it 
with dazzling effect as if there fell upon the 
water a shower of rain each of whose drops 
was a star of light. Towards the shore the 
waveless water is transparent. You see 


through its green, dense, dim delicious crystal. 
The lowly roll and splash of the surge is changed 
to the faintest whisper — for the waves do not 
break — the very last fine curving edge of the 
water foams slightly as it touches the beach. 
Another day the boats in the bay look dark; 
those in the distance sail by like pale grey 
shades. Rich deep grey sea and sky. A tiny 
rift through which the smiling sun shines 
blood-red. Not a disc but a broken gleam. 

December 1891. — The zenith tinged with the 
faintest possible blue faded into colourless air, 
which in its turn deepened with the glow which 
seems to girdle these frosty white days. That 
too was merged in a dull lilac-grey in which 
floated, half submerged, a dim red ball, over 
the still white fields and silent woods brooded 
a thin vapour — the breath of the fierce cold 
made visible. Against this the dark birds 
flew past. 

April 1892. — Marvellously warm and bright. 
After an interspace of cold, the warm growing 
weather is taken up again like a dropped 
thread. The shadows are as beautiful as the 
lights. To-day, sitting in the Park, I watched 
an ideal English distance. The reddish brown 
of bare fields against the enamelled green of 
water meadows beyond ; the thin wavering 
line of copse, in the blue that is almost purple, 


and beyond, a cloudlike distance, fading, 
fading away with a dying fall of exquisite 

The sounds of the day were as multiform 
as its colours. A hush of breezes moving in 
the woods, notes of birds, clear or resonant, the 
rustle of last year's leaves that the wind tosses 
over, the cry of the peewit, the baby-bleat of 
lambs, the deeper-pitched answer of their 
mothers. But I might listen (covering my 
eyes to hear better) for hours to gather all the 
myriad vibrations of its pipes and strings. 

An August Storm. — The rain pours like 
a thick veil across the green invested landscape, 
the thunder mutters and the lightning pal- 
pitates in wide, rose-tinted flashes. The 
effect is sublime and answers to that human 
craving which demands such masterpieces as 
14 Lear " or the overture to Tannhauser. 




Several rather slightly written stories date 
from about this time. " The Wrong Pre- 
scription " appeared in Good Words, " An 
Idealist in the Bud " and " A Royal Reception " 
in the English Review. " The Interrupted 
Sentence " and "Was it a Ghost ? " are others 
signed with the pseudonym that made them 
so acceptable to editors. It is impossible to 
help smiling, as Marie must have done herself, 
over a passage with Miss Yonge. In spite 
of the opinion of the author of the Heir of 
Redclyffe that it was " a pity that so fine 
a book as Cecilia de Noel should be injured 
by the entire absence of Christianity," Marie 
had been pressed to contribute a story to the 
Christmas number of the Monthly Packet, 
Miss Yonge's special organ. The story turns 
on the happy marriage of an English girl with 



an Italian nobleman, an innocent subject it 
would appear on the surface, but Miss Yonge, 
who did not always include a sense of humour 
among her other distinguished attributes, sets 
forth the difficulty arising: 

"I endorsed a strong remonstrance in 
Mothers in Council against English girls 
marrying Italians, as representing much misery 
which the author knew only too well to be the 
consequence, and to adopt a story where this 
is the happy conclusion seems to me incon- 
sistent. . . . But that I know that altering 
does not answer, and that it would destroy 
the point of your tale, I should have liked 
Margaret six years after to have seen her lover 
fat and unromantic, and the doleful state of an 
Englishwoman in the Castle of the Sea, and 
to be very thankful to her good father for his 

" If Miss Yonge would only carry out her 
views as to what ought to be the end of the 
story as explained in her letter to me (ex- 
claims Marie to the editor), it would make an 
entertaining paragraph. ... I have never met 
anyone with so high-pitched a standard." It 
seems almost incredible that the story entitled 


"Kismet" appeared with a footnote disclaim- 
ing Miss Yonge's responsibility for its opinions. 
We take up her notes again : 

Subjects to be avoided with Mrs A. 
— Gladstone. Politics. Charitable works. 
Salvation Army. Thackeray (disrespectful to 
the Georges). In fact the Bazaar is the only 
safe topic. 

Visit to a Parsonage. — Drawing-room 
scented with sweet peas, exquisitely arranged. 
Outside, dim and dripping day. Chopin's 
heartbroken music. The broad, foreign head, 
punctilious accentuation and suggestion of 
much culture and refinement. Impression as 
before of being held back by outsiders from 
contact with a soul akin. 

A Comedy. — Mr. E. C. was much struck 
with W. W.'s poem. Shows it to G. A., J. H., 
and others who are staying with him. G. A. 
writes kind review in the Nineteenth. Eclat 
and success. W. W. hastens up to town. In- 
troduced all round by E. C. His head is first 
turned, then lost. He becomes odious — offends 
everybody, borrows money, becomes engaged 
to E. C.'s daughter, breaks it off in two 
months. Is ruined and finally renounced. 

Mrs. C. was perpetually making senseless 


remarks and laughing heartily at them. She 
had the fluency, the gaiety of a wit, but nothing 
more. I am sure if there were any gallows in 
the neighbourhood, F. would have them put 
up at once before her front door. Shrieks of 
laughter, intended for witty badinage. Is it 
possible to inherit taste without capacity ? 

Cecilia. — Lady A. sitting by me at a garden 
party would like to " dithcuth " it with me. 
" I think there ought to have been a little more 
of Cecilia. I should have liked her to be more 
truly perfect, more truly Christian." " But 
was it not Christian ? I meant it to be. 
Where else could you find so much love ? " 
" Oh, perhaps I did not read it very attentively, 
but I went to Lord S.'s where they were all 
talking about it." 

I explain my point and am gratified by 
seeing the lady's eyes grow moist. Afterwards 
I am less gratified when I learn that they filled 
with tears when dry-rot was discovered on 
her husband's yacht. 

The papers publish and copy various in- 
accurate statements. Among others that I 
am going to Chicago Fair next spring. Mrs. 
Fields, leaving England, writes to invite me 
to stay with her at Boston. 

Mrs. S. is under the impression that the 
village was redeemed from heathenism by the 


advent of herself and her husband for the 
summer months. Always speaks of the village 
becoming " as bad as it was before we came." 
Parallel to the story that the Ash Wednes- 
day service could not take place because the 
clerk had gone out rat-catching, is Mr. Creary's 
attempt to have a saint's day service, when 
the only parishioners that he can collect are 
truants from school. 

Marie was extremely fond of animals. To 
her they were all individualities, the cats, 
the horses, and above all Mr. Bloggs, her little 
companion of fourteen years, whose arrival 
we have already seen chronicled in the pages 
of the " Midge." Later on she writes of him : 

His name is a peculiar one, and unfortunate, 
seeing that no one but a born Celt can pro- 
nounce it. We have all long since renounced 
the attempt and call him simply and incorrectly 

Mr. Bloggs' chief beauty is in his eyes, large 
dark and lustrous, and marking with his equally 
black and glossy nose, an exquisite triangle in 
a fluffy, cream-coloured countenance, over 
which in moments of excitement rise two 
large and pointed ears. It is then that by 


some admirers he is compared to a fox, as at 
other times — after his bath for instance — he 
is said to resemble a miniature Polar bear. 
Miniature, because (though he is not aware 
of it and would be furious if he understood the 
statement) Mr. Bloggs is quite a small dog. 

But even greater than the charm of his per- 
sonal appearance is that of his deportment, 
especially his elegant habit of sitting up, not 
with an effort and for a short time, as any 
dog might do, but as easily as he stands on 
all fours. Frequently, and of his own accord, 
he adopts this attitude, and when thus poised, 
as if in prayer, he waves his front paws be- 
seechingly, the effect is irresistible. In this 
way does he ask for many things — and gets 
them. Water, when his little bowl is empty, 
that the door may be opened, that the fire may 
be lit, and — when out driving — that the car- 
riage may be stopped. There is indeed a 
rumour that once in the stable yard he was 
found sitting up in the pony cart, behind the 
empty shafts, and with waving paws entreating 
it to carry him somewhere ; but this though 
a possible is not an accredited story. Certain 
it is, and weird as it is certain, that frequently 
he has been discovered sitting up in a room 
where there was no one but himself — to what 
or to whom talking one hardly likes to think. 


He has other marks of the Celtic race and of 
a high-strung organisation. Not merely does 
he howl to music, as many curs will do as 
much from dislike as from admiration ; he is 
an ardent and discriminating amateur. His 
favourite composers are Schumann and Chopin, 
and when their compositions are played he 
often improvises an obligato. Then, when — 
sitting up, of course — he throws back his head 
and emits one plaintive wail after another, 
duly observing the crescendo and decrescendo 
of the music, glancing between times over his 
shoulders to see how his art is appreciated by 
the audience, the impression produced is in- 
describable, and though it must be confessed 
that a tendency to the fortissimo sometimes 
mars the excellence of these renderings, they 
are still preferred by many people to anything 
that can be heard in a London concert room. 

But the time had come for his mistress to 
part with this tyrannical but endearing little 
personality : 

Mr. Bloggs had long appeared dropsical. 
Had twice fainted, was beginning to pant 
violently, and the night before he died refused 
a sweet biscuit, but the same day at breakfast 


he had flown at the cat and tried to snatch 
a piece of herring from her. Sunday morning 
I heard him barking so loudly that I thought 
he must be better. When F. came down 
before breakfast he let him out on the front 
lawn. Presently we saw him climbing up 
hill with difficulty and holding his nose up to 
sniff the air. F. went out to fetch him in and 
I, looking out, saw Bloggs fall on one side and 
roll down the bank. F. picked him up and 
brought him in, quite unconscious. Laid be- 
fore the dining-room fire, we all watched him. 
He gave two or three little twitches with his 
paws and with his head. Mother, looking, 
saw " a flash " pass over his face, as she has 
seen on human faces, and knew he was dead. 

That night F. lifted the carafe the last thing, 
as usual to fill Bloggs' little bowl I 

1893. Village Stories. — A very old 
woman, speaking of 1830 : " I well remember 
the day then ; the mob came along the 
road to go to the mansion, I can seemingly 
see them now. We lived at the lodge, where 
Mr. Shaw lives now, and mother she says to 
me, ' You go and open the gates for 'em and 
then you come in. Don't 'ee bide out.' So 
I did and they came and what they called the 
ringleader, he came, into the house and my 


mother she was frightened. She didn't know 
what he might do. He had a great big 
bludgeon in his hand and so had everyone of 
them, bless you. And he says, ' Missis, 
where's your husband ? ' ' He's never at 
home in the day,' she sez ; * he's up at the 
house.' *{F11 see that,' he says, and he goes 
right through. My poor old grandmother, she 
sit there by the fire, so old, she could see no- 
thing, and she was so frightened. ' O Master,' 
she said, ' don't 'ee pray hurt me, n'it my 
daughter, n'it the children, for we can't help 
nothing.' And he came up to her, I can mind 
so well, ■ Don't you fear, Granny, we won't 
harm you, but we want all the men, for the 
times is going to be changed.' ' And can you 
change them, do you think ? ' ' Aye, that we 
shall,' he says. * Everyone shall have cheese 
and meat, that can hardly get bread now.' " 

She told how they went up to the mansion 
and sought for her father, in the stables and 
loft, poking with a prong among the hay, but 
fortunately without discovering or prodding 
a blackleg who lay in concealment. Then 
they went to the front door and harangued 
Mr. Fellowes, threatening if he did not give 
them five pounds to smash every window. 
This he refused, but offered to help any of his 
own parish (these visitations seem to have 


given an effectual spur to almsgiving), but 
though they refused, they left without doing 
any harm. They went to Whitchurch, where 
they made " such a work, I don't know what 
they didn't do. Broke into the shops and 
took the bread and eat it. Ah, they was ter- 
rible times to be sure. There wasn't a night 
but you see'd the burnings somewhere." 

Mrs. Hobbes says the times have changed 
indeed. The children had to go out and work 
in the fields at eight years of age sometimes. 
She herself had tended pigs and geese in such 
cold weather that the icicles hung about her 
bonnet. " Mrs. S., when I went for the lamb's 
milk, she took me in and give me some hot 
sloe wine and bread and butter and sat 
me aside o' the fire to get warm, but March 
was worst of all for then I was in the fields to 
keep the birds from the green corn and I 
stamped and hollered with the cold." Food, 
potatoes (sometimes with a tiny bit of bacon 
or butter to flavour them) for breakfast, 
potatoes for supper — they drank the liquor 
the potatoes were boiled in. Tea, six shillings 
a pound, the children never touched it. The 
mother bought an ounce at a time and made 
it last. Harvest time was best. Reaping 
was done with the reaping hook, by women 
as well as men. A guinea an acre was the 


price, and father, mother, and children could 
earn that in a day, working hard and for long 
hours. Then the " leasings " were worth 
having. Her mother brought corn back and 
threshed it in her kitchen with a stick. After- 
wards winnowed it on sheets in the road. 
There was one year the wheat sprouted in the 
ear and the flour that year was bad. As she 
sat in the chimney corner beside the oven door, 
she cried, " Mother, the bread is running out 
of the oven." It trickled out and " looked as 
brown as treacle." Mother was told how to 
amend this by mixing alum. It tasted not 
exactly bad, but " sweety-like." Yes, she 
too remembered the riots. It was the coming 
of the machines and the fall of wages that 
followed. There were blacklegs who hid and 
were forcibly dragged out to march and protest 
with the others. She told of her mother 
working all day in the fields and baking and 
washing all night in the busy time of harvest. 

Mrs. Taylor relates with some complacency 
her extreme nervousness on a journey in the 
early days of railways : 

" I was in a way. There was a nice woman 
spoke to us. If it hadn't been for her, I 



shouldn't ha' gone — such a way I was in ; 
my son was quite frightened. I pretty nigh 
fainted right away. My fingers went like 
that (shaking them), and I turned as white — 
t'was the express frightened me pretty nigh 
to death. The woman says, ■ Be you going 
to Andover ? ' ' Well, I was,' I said, c but 
really it do overcome me so, I hardly knows.' 
4 Oh,' she says, ' you'll get the better of it, 
it'll pass. The express was too much for you. 
Pity you come up before it passed.' But I 
didn't get the better of it for days. All of a 
tremble I was." Apropos of the great pre- 
ponderance of girls at the present time, Miss C. 
told me that seventy years ago when they 
were all so scantily and poorly fed, there was 
only one girl-child in Hurstbourne. 

Old Mrs. Lindsay told mother that as a girl 
(about 1830) she remembered the famine in 
Aberdeen. The eager waiting for the meal 
boats at the harbour. Want so great and 
nursing mothers so famished that the children 
drew blood with the milk. 

The New Ideas on the Education of 
Children. — Mrs. Leslie had one little girl, 
a good little thing, well brought up. Thei 
after sixteen years' repose, during which sh< 


held forth largely on the science of education, 
arrived another baby, Davy. Davy, aged 
four or five, comes to play with little Gerard 
Trevor, aged six. Sounds of discussion arise : 

G. " Auntie, he has taken away my wheel- 

" Well, dear, let him have it and you get 
something else." 

Renewed sounds : " Auntie, he takes all 
my toys. He won't let me have one of them." 
Tableau of Davy holding on to the wheelbarrow, 
ball, &c. 

Mrs. Leslie approaches the situation with 

" How kind of Gerard to lend you all these 
beautiful toys, darling. Kiss dear Gerard, 

Davy, setting his teeth : " Gerard nasty " 
— tries to bite him. 

Mrs. Leslie, discreetly : " I think we must 
be going. Now, Davy darling, give back the 
toys to dear Gerard." 

Davy firmly declines and, when the point is 
pressed, begins to roar. Mrs. Leslie : " I 
think, dear Miss Trevor, we must just leave 
them, and as we go along in the carriage I will 
seize the opportunity, when he is not looking, 
to drop them out one by one. 

Harry was invited the other day to play a 


practical joke on a midshipman in a country 
house. He declined on the grounds of a person 
intimately acquainted with the nature of lions 
and tigers, who might refuse to prick one of 
them with a pin while asleep. Is justified 
by learning afterwards that the man who had 
played the practical joke was prostrate with 
a broken collar-bone, having been mysteriously 
tripped up, going downstairs. 

Meeting to form a Temperance Society. 
— Mr. W. is invited to make financial state- 
ment. " Well, six-and-something is subscribed 
at door." Then he had books and cards to 
order, so sent up fifteen shillings to the society, 
but did not have things to that amount. Then 
there was the railway journey of the speakers 
from Andover to Hurstbourne, return — made 
a note of, but unfortunately lost. (General 
discussion as to what it would be.) Mr. W. 
recollects that it was not to Andover but to 
Gradeley. Solemn and significant " Ah ! " 
as if the difference were enormous. " Well, 
then, there were the books and there ought 
to be another bill, but I am afraid I don't know 
where it is. I can't make out this." After 
puzzling for some time, " Ah yes, I see. Some 
of the things were ordered for myself and some 
for Mrs. P., so you see you add the three-and- 


six and the six-and-something and it is all 
right." Vicar (sadly), " I'm afraid I don't 

Unravelled by degrees that we have received 
six-and-sevenpence and spent five-and-two- 
pence (satisfactory, but probably incorrect). 
We end with a sally on lethargy of the 
Church by Mrs. P. and regrets that vows 
taken against intoxicating drinks by young 
children cannot be made permanent " like 
baptismal vows." 

Our Parish Council. — At the preliminary 
meeting, Mrs. W. had arranged (mentally) 
that of course Mr. W. (vicar) should take the 
chair. Imagine her feelings when she learns 
that it has been occupied by Mr. R. the Dis- 
senting minister. 

" But did nobody say anything ? " eyeing 
Peter angrily. 

" Well, I told them they must choose a 
chairman — that somebody must propose and 
somebody must second." 

" Ho ! " (anger unappeased). " Well, of 
course we must take care it does not happen 
a second time." 

" Well, I am afraid we can hardly prevent 
it. Having been elected chairman, he cannot 
well be removed." 


" Do you mean " (wildly) " that he is going 
to be chairman always, then ? " 

" Well, yes, unless we formally propose a 
change, and even then it would have to be put 
to the ballot." 

" Ho ! " 

Lady caller, wishing to convey a sufficient 
sense of someone's high social distinction, 
said to us, " You remember the baccarat 
scandal ? Well, she was one of the House- 
Party / " 

Sermon {extract). — On greatness of the 
Divine Being. — " Let us take the subject of 
Languages, dear friends. There are at least 
seven or eight countries even in Europe and 
the people of each of those countries speaks a 
quite different language. Now, dear friends, 
God understands all these different languages 
— just think — He has not got to learn them. 
He knows them perfectly, grammar and words 
and all ! " 



Some time in 1897 Miss Hawker wrote an 
essay with the above title. It does not seem 
to be quite finished, and the MS. is altered 
and^corrected, but it is written very freely 
with her usual conciseness, and it is so full of 
practical suggestions that it can hardly fail to 
be of value to many people as the deliberate 
advice of one who is acknowledged to be past 
master on her subject and who does her best 
to let us into her secret. 

" The art of writing a short story," she says 
" is like the art of managing a small allowance 
It requires the same care, self-restraint and 
ingenuity, and, like the small allowance, it 
affords excellent practice for the beginner, for 
by the very limitations it imposes on her 
ambition, it preserves her from errors of judg- 
ment and taste into which she might be hurried 
by fancy or fashion. 



Many things are lawful, if not expedient, in 
the three-volume novel that in the short story 
are forbidden : moralising, for instance, or 
comments of any kind, personal confidence or 
confessions. These can indeed be made so 
entrancing that the narrative itself may be 
willingly foregone. The wit of a Thackeray, 
the wisdom of a George Eliot has done as 
much ; but these gifts are rare, so rare that 
our beginner will do well to assume that she 
has them not and stick fast to her story, since 
on that tiny stage, where there is hardly room 
for the puppets and their manoeuvres, there 
is plainly no space for the wire-puller. 

Even more cheerfully may be renounced 
those many addenda called explanations. No- 
where in a story can they possibly be welcome. 
At the end they would be preposterous, at 
the beginning they scare away the reader, in 
the middle they exasperate him. Who does 
not know the chill with which, having finished 
a lively and promising chapter, one reads at 
the beginning of the next, " And now we 
must retrace our steps to explain," or words 
to that depressing effect. Explain what ? — 
the situation ? That should have explained 
itself. Or the relation of the actors ? A 
word or two in the dialogue might do as much. 
More, I, as the reader, do not wish to learn, 


I am fully interested, I am caught in the cur- 
rent of the tale, I am burning to know if the 
hero recovered, if the heroine forgave, if the 
parents at last consented ; I am in no mood 
to listen to a precis of the past events that 
prepared this dilemma, or of the legal, financial, 
or genealogical complications by which it is 
prolonged. With these dry details the author 
may do well to be acquainted for the due 
direction and confirmation of his plot, but 
the reader has nothing to do with them, and 
in a work of art they are as needless and as 
unsightly as the scaffolding round a completed 
building or the tacking threads in a piece of 
finished needlework. 

Equally incompatible with the short story 
is that fertile source of tedium, redundancy. 
" The secret of being wearisome," says the 
French proverb, " is to tell everything." What 
then is the end of those who tell not merely 
everything, but — if an Irish turn be per- 
mitted — a great deal more ? It is to encourage 
the practice of skipping in the general reader, 
and, much to the detriment of more parsi- 
monious writers, in the reviewers as well. A 
large number of weak and washy novels might 
be converted into readable stories by the simple 
process of leaving out about two volumes of en- 
tirely superfluous and uninteresting matter. 


On the staff of an amateur magazine to 
which in early youth the writer contributed, 
there was one most obliging and useful member 
whose business it was to provide " copy " for 
the odd corners and inevitable spaces between 
the more important papers. He wrote, you 
will observe, not because he had anything in 
the world to say or tell, but because a certain 
amount of space must at all costs be covered, 
and the effusions thus inspired he signed with 
the appropriate pseudonym of " Phillup Bosch." 
How often in fiction of a certain class may even 
now be recognised the handiwork of this in- 
dustrious writer. The sparkle of his early 
touch is gone, but his purpose is the same, and 
without his aid there are three- volume novels 
that could never have been written. For- 
tunately the short story is independent of 

The disadvantages of the short story be- 
come more distinct when we consider its pos- 
sible theme. The crowded stage and wide 
perspective of the novel proper ; all trans- 
formations of characters and circumstance 
in which time is an essential element, the 
intricately tangled plot, knot by knot unfolded, 
these are beyond its reach. The design of the 
short story must itself be short — and simple. 
A single, not too complicated incident is best ; 


the one entire and perfect action that Aris- 
totle considered the best subject for fable or 
poem, embodying the stage-manager's advice 
to aspiring dramatists, quoted by Copp6e in 
his Conies en prose : 

" If they come to me with their plays when 
I am at breakfast, I say — ' Look here, can 
you tell me the plot in the time it takes to eat 
this boiled egg ? If not — away with it — it 
is useless.' " 

It may be observed that all these suggestions 
are of a negative order and concerned with 
the " tact of omission." This is indeed of 
the first importance in the composition of the 
short story. As a famous etcher once said 
to the writer while she stood entranced before 
a study of river, trees, and cattle that his magic 
touch had converted into a very poem — " The 
great thing is to know what to leave out." 
It is part of that economy already insisted 
upon " to express only the characteristic traits 
of succeeding actions" and, as Mr. Besant 
exhorts us, to suppress all descriptions which 
hinder instead of help the action, all episodes 
of whatever kind, all conversations which 
do not either advance the story or illustrate 
the characters. How this essential and char- 
acteristic matter is to be distinguished from 
all around is another question. One which 


to decide upon a great French master of the 
art describes as "un travail acharne." But 
it is often made easy by native instinct like that 
which directs those born story-tellers — their 
name is legion — of all conditions, who never 
put pen to paper, but who in hall or college, 
drawing-room or kitchen, inn-parlour or smok- 
ing-room, whenever they unfold a tale, hold 
their audience attentive and engrossed. Their 
method when analysed appears to depend, 
first on their firm grasp of the main point and 
purport of their story, next on their liberal 
use of dialogue in the telling of it. Thus do 
the listeners of one enchanting raconteuse, at 
least, explain the dramatic flavour she im- 
parted to the commonest incidents of domestic 
life. This is what she would have made of a 
theme so ungrateful as the butcher having 
sent a joint larger than ordered : a fair average 
weight for a leg of mutton being declared by 
experts to be eight pounds. 

" Directly I went into the larder I said, 
4 Jane, what on earth is that ? • 

" i Why, ma'am,' she said, " it is the leg of 
mutton you ordered.' 

" c What ! ' I said, ' the small leg of mutton ? 
Where is the ticket ? ' 

" * Please, ma'am, the butcher's boy has 
not brought it.' 


" I said, ' Tell him to come into the kitchen.' 

" When he came I made her weigh that leg 
of mutton before him. It weighed eleven 
pounds four ounces ! 

" I said, ' Take that back to your master 
and ask him from me if he calls that a small 
leg of mutton ? ' " 

The expression, the intonation, the, at times, 
almost tragic emphasis, it is unfortunately 
impossible to reproduce ; but even in this 
colourless record we may admire the terseness 
and vigour, the masterly opening that at once 
arouses curiosity, and the artistic reserve that 
does not by outcry or comment detract from 
the force of the climax. We may consider too 
how in some hands this simple tale might have 
been embroidered and hindered : by descrip- 
tion of the scenery outside the kitchen window ; 
by a minute account of the lady's family and 
connections, or of the previous history of the 
cook ; by a dissertation on joints in general, 
with other digressions too numerous to mention, 
and you may divine by comparison what 
constitutes the characteristics of a short story. 

If you review the tablets of your memory 
and mark the scenes imprinted upon them, 
you will see that whereas some figures, in- 
cidents, speeches, even details of background, 
are vivid as ever, others have vanished away. 


Again, you will find that a conversation may 
be often best reported by suppressing all the 
repetitions and superfluous phrases that en- 
cumbered the actual dialogue. Lastly, if you 
attentively consider the character of someone 
you know and understand, you may discover 
that it is revealed and epitomised in particular 
words and actions, and that by repeating these 
you might present a much more striking por- 
trait of the original than by a lengthy memoir 
of all that he or she did or said in common 
with other people. Thus from your own ex- 
perience you may gather hints as to the kind 
of condensation desirable for the short story. 
Others may be gathered from the study of 
the best literature ; but in this, as in every 
form of creative work, the artist, in the begin- 
ning as at the end, must draw his chief inspira- 
tion from life itself. There is one thing that 
the shortest story does not exclude, and that 
is the highest artistic ambition. That the 
length of a work is no measure of its importance 
or effect is best illustrated by such master- 
pieces as the minor poems of Milton, Words- 
worth, or Shelley. The literary capabilities 
of the short story, still in its infancy, have got 
to be discovered, probably by this very genera- 
tion. Therefore must writers of it be exhorted 
to cherish the highest aims in their writing, 


to lavish on it the greatest care. Nowhere 
can signs of weariness, of haste or scamping, 
be so inexcusable as on the miniature ivory of 
the short story. Rather it deserves the finish 
of the finest cameo, of the most highly polished 



1894-1898. 1898-1900 

Between 1894 and 1898 comes a gap in her 
notes, and it is a time that is with difficulty 
filled by the recollection of her friends. The 
years seem outwardly to have been marked by 
few events, but there is no doubt that where 
her inward life was concerned she passed through 
a crucial period. When the diary reopens .t 
becomes more introspective ; the spiritual life 
has assumed far larger proportions. Several 
times in after years she speaks of the trials and 
struggles of this time as something to look back 
upon with pain, a time from which she is thank- 
ful to have escaped. During these years her 
health steadily declined. Up to the age of 
twenty she had been strong and healthy, but 
the change from sunny France to a damp Eng- 
lish valley was a trying one. At twenty-three 
she had had a very severe attack of measles, 



which told on her, and from this time she 
constantly chronicled her bad colds in the pages 
of the Midge, In October we read that " Miss 
Hawker, determined not to be behindhand, has 
already started her winter cold," or again, " Miss 
Hawker s cough, being extremely aggressive, is 
a source of aggravation to the rest of the 

Mrs. Fennell was a very robust woman and 
never ill herself; she was hardly able to grasp 
what it meant to be always " ailing." In later 
years she reproached herself very much for not 
having taken more care of Marie in the early 
stages of her complaint, but medical science 
was still old-fashioned, and Mrs. Fennell herself 
had never heard of the form of chronic internal 
catarrh from which her daughter suffered. This 
now grew much worse, and she also became 
the prey of a distressing form of dyspepsia. 
She was not one of those people who u enjoy " 
bad health. In her desire to regain her normal 
strength she tried one method after another. 
She went through a very drastic form of treat- 
ment, of which her mother did not quite 
approve at the time, and which Marie herself 
afterwards acknowledged to be a mistake. She 

tried the Salisbury treatment, strict vegetarian- 



ism, semi-starvation, and it is not surprising to 
find that she grew worse rather than better. 

In 1896 her brother died, and the grief 
attendant on this loss and the supporting her 
mother, whose sorrow for the death of her only- 
son was deep and long-lived, threw a fresh 
strain upon the delicate organisation, and with 
failing health came another deep disappoint- 
ment. A few short years before, fame and 
recompense had seemed within her grasp. From 
all quarters came requests for stories. From 
America in 1893 she received an offer of two 
hundred and fifty pounds for a short story, to 
be published in an exclusive series which in- 
cluded such names as Kipling, Barrie, and 
Marion Crawford. Literary work hides many 
tragedies, and among the saddest must be the 
discovery that ill-health has blighted the roots 
of the mind, and that the power of creation 
has become too fierce an effort for the delicate 

It would perhaps be too sad to write about, 
if it were not that in the midst of apparent 
failure Marie achieved so noble a self-conquest. 
The spiritual had always had an attraction whicl 
drew her away from the more human interesl 
in her stories, and from this time the wealt] 


of inner thought, which was still welling, flowed 
towards the unseen life. Her faith was called 
in to support and perfect her in the altered 
aspect her life presented, and from this time 
we get the history of a soul, told with that 
genuineness of insight, that absolute sincerity, 
which generates charm and appeals to sym- 

When her " thought notes " begin again, in 
1898, she is still struggling against certain im- 
pulses of impatience, which to those around 
her she seemed so completely to have mastered. 
She contrasts two characters, of which the 
second is evidently her own : 

Ideala, like the sun, shone on the evil and 
the good. Faults against herself were easily 
forgiven — those against others were not remem- 
bered, as in Reala's case, with the fierce in- 
dignation of the undisciplined spirit. Besides 
the strong and prevailing reasonableness of her 
character, the wisdom that went with its sweet- 
ness preventing her indulging, for a selfish 
indulgence it is — in any form of indignation 
that was useless, or worse than useless. 

The first thing to be crushed is the superficial 
impatience that is aroused by the things of 


minute circumstance. The deaf person who 
will not hear, the drawer that will not open, 
the necessary implement that will not be 

Every morning and every evening some of us 
exercise certain muscles not required in the 
day's work. We assume attitudes, we make 
motions that we probably shall never require in 
ordinary life. Would the answer to this in the 
spiritual life be the picturing to ourselves all 
trials and forcing ourselves to accept them, not 
only languidly but cheerfully? On the other 
hand is the advantage of not crossing the bridge 
till we come to it. On the whole the best rule 
seems to be to tighten the strings — to assume the 
ideal attitude two or three times a day. Speak 
less, speak slowly, act slowly. 

As to supineness of that kind that prevents 
us, not from following an obvious path, but from 
striking out one for ourselves, the very fact that 
we do not may be the proof that we are not 
able and therefore not required to do it. 

To myself as a child the idea that sound and 
light must travel came as a great surprise. 

Perhaps it is still more surprising to find that 
spiritual blessings are subject to the same law, 
and that even the answer to prayer — the real 
prayer that asks only the real good — cannot be 
transmitted immediately. 


Thus in discouragement and perplexity over 
the special position which with its leisure and 
quiet afforded such opportunities for the work 
she absolutely could not do, she prayed earnestly 
and insistently for grace to see what she could 
do. The answer came at length, better than 
she expected. In a sudden flash she saw how 
the position might be irradiated, beautified, 
blessed for all around by a beautiful soul, and 
how this benediction might give meaning and 
worth of the right kind, even to a life maimed, 
and hindered by her peculiar cross of mental as 
well as physical disability : 

The background or shape on which this life is 
to be lived has its advantages ; comfort, dainty 
food, pleasant rooms, a lovely garden, none of 
the disturbance or worries inseparable from the 
presence of too many people — not to speak of 
poverty or severe chronic illness. But one 
really remarkable person did all that was needed 
to preserve the average — to lower it, in fact — by 
a marvellous combination of semi-insanity — 
temper and restlessness. (The allusion is, of 
course, to her stepfather.) 

And what the flash disclosed was how the 
Cross, which could not, it was plain, be either 


altered or removed, might be rendered more 
bearable by a patience which, instead of adding 
fuel to the flame, sought to lighten it for others. 
Patience, but it is to be not lugubrious, but a 
joy or at least a cheerful patience. The experi- 
ence steadily considered of the spiritual life 
shows that there also, as in physical existence, 
reigns immaculate Law. The promises of 
reward are absolutely certain, in time. Live in 
certain conditions, and certain qualities apper- 
taining to them must be eventually acquired in 
a world where law reigns. 

In my intercourse with J. and H. there was 
great pleasure, owing to the affectionate kind- 
ness their whole manner and treatment con- 
veyed, and I left them with a most grateful 
sense of being richer than I had perceived. 

Resolve to do everything in the best possible 
way. Avoid the too common mode of getting 
through things as an idle child might get 
through its tasks with eyes strained towards 
playtime. Resist the tendency of nerve-restless- 
ness to make one do things in a hurried and 
uncomfortable manner. The parcel has to be 
packed: take time and thought to collect the 
materials. The note has to be written : don't 
write it in a hasty uncomfortable manner — 
mental attitude, like carriage, is important. Sit 
down squarely to your task and do it with 


thought and deliberation. And the interruption 
by a demand for attention, help or amusement ? 
Strive to rise to that appeal as to a royal 
message, and respond with all your powers. 
Avoid all criticisms and complaints that are not 
really necessary. There have been some de- 
lightful days, in spite of unrefreshing sleep and 
its consequences. And again in the sunlight 
one not only drinks in its beauty and all the 
beauty it reveals, but one is able to perceive 
what has been gained in the shadow. 

Good works in all things, spirit as well as 
matter, with line upon line, touch upon touch : a 
method of which all workers, from the plough- 
man and the mason to the artist and the poet, 
are the symbols. 

I sometimes feel, through and beyond this 
earthly tabernacle, the wide aisles and unfathom- 
able vault of the Home made without hands. 
Without this growing sense to fill the void and 
change that comes with years, one's heart must 
be benumbed or break over the days that are 
no more. Dear tender shadows, that which you 
veiled and represented — your real essence and 
treasure — is safe with Christ in God. 

A by no means enduring condition. It comes 
like a gleam of sunshine on a stormy day, and 
then the prose and the drudgery of the foggy, 
commonplace atmosphere envelop one again. 


Something of the old fretted and irritable state 
culminated to-day — continued conflict with 
tedious difficulties, interruptions of the most pro- 
longed kind, all magnified by a feverish condition 
of body and mind, increased by the heavy atmos- 
phere of a thundery day. At the end one regrets 
the discomfort very little and the impatience 
very much. I have not been positively cross 
to anyone, but I have literally sworn sotto voce 
more than once. I do not love the deeps. The 
Te Deum prayer rises to my lips, "Lift me 
up for ever," and the preamble, " govern me." 
In no other way can it be done — without our 
entire consent and effort He is not able to 
govern us. 

These and other thoughts came to me in 
the cathedral l as the organ was playing with 
that mentally illuminating power music so often 
bestows, probably because it quickens the torpid 
fibres of sensation by which we perceive spiritu- 
ally as well as physically, for I doubt — I doubt 
if anyone is ever in this life out of the body, 
and suspect that its faculties count for some- 
thing in the highest spiritual faculties and visions. 
Whether we like it or not, we are fast shut in 
this body of material manifestation ; when we 
think we rise from it we probably fall into 
poor and false dreams. Let us therefore study 

1 Winchester. 


the facts of life — let us live strenuously in the 

Of course one goes back to the Bible. In 
no book are there such scattered treasures of 
thought answering to the deepest universal 
wants. No need of Councils and Synods — the 
human heart often mistakes the letter and secures 
the spirit. 

We can get the Revelation from Real Life 
alone, and all religions and their teachings are 
but keys to the interpretation of this earthly 
but Divine tuition. 

Also with the music came one of these 
flashes — vivid and short-lived as lightning — of 
the perception of Divine love. The raptures 
of the Saints must be the same light, in sus- 
tained glow. It figured itself to me like some- 
thing almost caressingly tender, like that which 
is expressed in the common maternal gesture : 
the woman laying her cheek against the head 
of the child nestling on her bosom. If this by 
chance is ever read, it may be consoling and 
encouraging to other forlorn and shipwrecked 
brothers to perceive to what poor creatures the 
heavenly door is set open. 

The Holy, or rather the Human Family, is 
the supreme sacrament and the supreme educa- 
tion ; that is why it so powerfully attracts alike 
the artistic and the popular heart. 


To realise, not in picture or in poem, but 
in actual life, The Family, to make the life of 
the Family as it ought to be, or even approach- 
ing that — possible — that is the highest end of 
all human religion and civilisation. 

Anything that taints family life is like the 
poison introduced into the Holy Cup; it is 
the worst sacrilege. 

By clearly realising what not to do, one often 
perceives what one ought to do. 

When this was written Marie was staying in 
Winchester. Her sister had suggested that she 
should set up a tiny refuge of her own, something 
in the nature of a workshop, close to her mother's 
house, a place to which she might retire from 
time to time when peace and quiet became 
essential, and where she would be able to write 
undisturbed and to spend the night if she 
wished. The attempt to carry out this advice 
resulted in her taking a lodging in Winchester, 
high on a hill above the town. She loved the 
cathedral city, was fortunate in finding a good 
landlady, and visited the " little haven," as she 
called it, constantly in the years that followed. 

It would be perhaps superfluous, possibly 
tedious, to give all the severe and critical self- 


examination to which Marie Hawker subjected 
herself during these years. Her tendency to 
analyse and criticise was turned upon her own 
character. The entries, almost day by day 
through 1898 and 1899, are short and terse. 
That she has been through a time of great 
mental suffering is apparent. She speaks more 
than once of having come through Purgatory 
and there is nothing morbid in her comments. 
She accuses herself of impatience and constant 
failure, but she does not exaggerate. She gives 
due weight to the provocation she meets with 
and she is ready and willing to recognise every 
encouragement of spirit vouchsafed to her. We 
may judge that long before this, before the 
days of literary success, she had aspired to 
the Higher Life, for she writes in July 1899, 
" Crossing a great sweep of furrow land to-day, 
it occurred to me that perhaps the severe dis- 
cipline of the last few years was the inevitable 
answer to the prayers of '86." " Grant me, 
Lord, a place," she said. 

u Certainly we know not what we ask — but 
I do not repent if it can be granted." 

Then a few days later : 

"Alas, how slight seems the effect of dis- 


cipline, by no means slight when one has to 
reproach oneself to-day with a very cramp of 
inhospitality. Sometimes it would seem as if 
it were the reverse of my favourite story, and 
'les autres n'etaient pas a Liege' so emphati- 
cally and numerously present do these ■ diables ' 
seem. Prickly dislike, condemnation of other 
people's faults, hardness in thought or tone, the 
impulse to dilate on grievances, to * confidanter,' 
so unsuitable that our nerve of absurdity is 
touched. Then all disappears and the heavy 
atmosphere becomes light." 

Strongest of all qualities which stand out 
through these years is her indomitable courage. 
She might so easily, we might almost say so 
excusably, have given way and have abandoned 
a struggle made wearisome by disappointment, 
by the uncongenial element ever present in her 
home, by the trial of constant ill-health in a 
most depressing form, and so giving way, we 
can see that she might have become a fractious, 
irritable woman, armed with a stinging tongue. 
But there is never a word of wavering. After 
every mention of a burst of impatience, she 
ends " once again to the Breach " — and makes 
fresh resolutions. And so over and over again 
her friends speak to us of her gentleness and 


patience, qualities which all through her life 
seem absolutely typical of her outward per- 

Her young nieces supply a lighter side in 
their recollections of her. She was shy with 
children and not very clever with them, but she 
was delightful company to those with whom 
she was at her ease. She could tell the most 
amusing fairy tales which she reeled off from 
surrounding conditions, sending the baby off in 
imagination on his travels, and telling of all the 
wonderful adventures that happened to him. 
There was the story of the little girl, to whose 
fingers, whether for a punishment for covetous- 
ness or for pilfering, everything she tried to 
grasp, stuck fast, and who, seeking to annex 
some gold buttons on a lady's coat, was dragged 
along and could not be released till someone 
said, " Poor little girl," when the spell was 

A love of being alone, inherent in all the 
Hawker family, gained upon Marie, and if not 
combated might have developed, as it had 
done with certain eccentric relatives, into a 
distaste for seeing anyone. Yet she could 
not for long be happy away from her own 
people : 


I was unwell and unhappy at Reigate. 
Why, it is impossible to say, for the air was 
ideal and both rooms of the lodging had a 
south aspect. Every change seems to produce 
some malaise, but it gets better in a few days. 
At Reigate on the contrary it increased. The 
demoralisation of mind and body was worse, 
much worse than when I arrived. I could not 
read so conscientiously. I could not write at 
all. The old heavy cloud stretched over every- 
thing again, the old film crept over my brain. 
I was improvident enough to have no hand- 
work. I had not the energy to prepare any. 
In this hapless state, alone in lodgings, without 
companionship, without any of the interests that 
home affords, with nothing in fact to divert my 
mind, I spent a most lugubrious week. I had 
to remind myself constantly that I might have 
been much worse, that there is such a thing as 
pain. I have been worse. I have known times 
of Heimweh that came with suffocating force and 
made one pace the room as one does in sharp 

And yet I was stimulated to this move by a 
sense of increasing vigour, mental and physical, 
with the conviction that I was independent and 
strong enough to remake and mould my own 
life. I felt as if my legs were firm under me. 
1 start and they instantly give way. The sense 


of languor and inefficiency were inexplicable. 1 
It was all I could do to achieve the needful 
calculating, packing, paying, necessary to carry 
me from Reigate to London and then home. 

I only succeeded in this by doing everything 
at the most deliberate pace. It is like acting 
under the influence of some depressing narcotic. 
At such times the stars as well as the trees are 
invisible. Prayerless the days are not, for the 
indescribable nerve weariness shapes itself con- 
stantly into a cry for support or submission, but 
interest flags in divine as well as human things. 
Literature, art, even nature, charm me no longer. 
I feel nothing. I only believe. Is it my heart ? 
Is it my brain ? How will it end ? In death, 
or worse for myself or everybody else, in some 
collapse of brain and limbs that will leave me 
inert and a burden on the lives of others ? 

Already this is better, that I am able to re- 
view it 1 

I write partly to remind myself of what has 
happened to make the situation clearer to my- 
self. Then perhaps I may detect the way out, 
or if there be no way out, the best attitude in. 
My marching orders, or if it must be, standing 

In thinking over my little boys, 2 I was struck 

1 She learnt afterwards that this was a heart symptom. 

2 Her brother's children. 


by the recollection of Cecil's exclamation : " Oh, 
how long are you going to stay ? Couldn't you 
stay for a lot of weeks ? " It burst from him, 
not on account of a present or promise of toffy 
or apples, but at a speech of mine in answer to 
his own admiration of the yellow leaves ; I said 
they were indeed beautiful, like golden lace, and 
called his attention to the crimson of the Vir- 
ginian creeper and said, " This is what makes 
the autumn so beautiful." 

There come back to me, at times, scenes of 
dream-like beauty in our visit to Southsea of 
all places. Those dying days when on a sea of 
silver, tinged with lilac shadows, boats — fairy 
boats, not made with hands — went floating off 
into the golden haze of sunset. More distinct 
than those visions themselves remains with me 
their effect and suggestion that that setherial 
world we saw from the beach was the real one, 
and that of the lodging-houses and shops and 
trains waiting behind to engulf us and blind 
us was the unreal. 

At the same time I feel bound to append 
that this material fact would be indispensable 
to the true perception and comprehension of 
the fancy. 

The religious or philosophical attitude ought 
to be ours on lowest grounds. The repose of 
humility, the comfort of resignation. Before 


taking this step I acknowledged it might be a 
wrong one. I accepted the possible failure 
and the attendant discomforts. The discom- 
forts are only too inevitable. Eh bien! to the 
already sufficiently nauseous draught the bitter 
taste of regret is not added. I did my best. 
My best was very poor, but in any case, having 
done it, the matter passes out of my hands and 
becomes a trial, like any other trial. 

That actual life should be full of idylls, 
romances, poems, is not so wonderful, incredible 
though it be to many ! But what surprises me 
is that the leading roles in some of the most 
moving dramas are filled by actors so essen- 
tially prosaic and commonplace. It is not the 
novelists or the poets or the artistic people who 
always play the parts they could appreciate or 
describe. It is someone who could not explain 
a fraction of his feeling — even to himself. 

There are some artistic effects which are not 
merely artistic but inevitable if we copy from 
life. We know the picturesque value of the 
youthful and playful element — whether in the 
forms of cherubs or elves. Things are so 
ordered in the actual world that this element is 
always forthcoming — even in the most prosaic 
places. This was suggested to me by the little 
page-boys in a big hotel. Two of these gambol- 
ling up the stairs I was climbing at Charing 


Cross, and challenging each other to take longer 
and longer strides, came with charming relief 
into that gorgeous, murky scene of bustle and 

The exquisite conciseness and comprehensive- 
ness of the Collect (21st Sunday after Trinity) 
suggests that among the things that improve 
with the age of the observer are the Collects. 
And my thoughts, drifting from one point to 
another, brought back how at the time of my 
mother's illness I felt when looking at her : 
il nous fallait absolument un Dieu, if not for 
ourselves, then for our cherished ones. 

December 1, 1900. — So dark and short and 
raw a day. During my walk there seemed 
nothing lovely or bright to notice except (a 
thankworthy exception) the exquisite and happy 
carolling of the birds, thrushes especially, in the 
Cocklelorum woods. 

After 's long account to me of her 

elaborate struggles and devices to avoid wound- 
ing the susceptibilities of the townspeople, I 
remember that after all neither she nor he are 
very popular ! 

This is one of the innumerable cases where 
le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle, and where in 
fact one burns the candle with hardly any jeu 
at all. 


If one considered fully that Nature was a 
revelation, might one not make a kind of culte 
of its beauty, bringing oneself more and more 
to observe and venerate its commonest mani- 
festations : the sky, the light, the dawn, the 
sunset, the stars? Might not this be so 
organised as to afford as much comfort and 
inspiration as the ritual, say, of the Roman 
Catholic Church ? 

After glancing over Huxley's Life, I end 
with the strong impression of a soul, not 
perishing, but famished for the Divine. His 
was one of those that can be satisfied with 
nothing less. The sadness of this unfulfilled, 
unconfessed craving is to be read in his 

Inimitable Leech ! When I tried to begin 
to-day my work of clipping and pasting 
together the tattered remains of his books, I 
could do nothing but look and giggle. One 
example of his miraculous power of expression 
are the two hands (no more is visible) of the 
woman holding " Master Frank, who does not 
want to be dipped." 

Ju's children came, Siola looking, as she is, 
quite grown-up. This constant change in life, 
marking so emphatically the flight of time, ought 
to be enough to give us pause and thought. Yet 
sometimes and for long we see only the dance. 


We do not notice the changing aspects of the 
dancers or the gaps in their ranks. 

December 17. — Mother took a walk to-day, the 
first time for ten days. She enjoyed all the 
beauty, the first azure between the clouds, the 
lovely shades of mauve and russet on the wood- 
land. It is given me to see that this is one of 
the episodes which at a later time one would 
buy with rubies. 

December 23. — I have been making wreaths 
and preaching persistently the simplifications of 

Christmas Day. — Lunched with the Ports- 
mouths. Mr. Pusey at the Park. Having asked 
many questions about " Mile. Ixe," finished by 
flattering inquiry whether she killed or only 
wounded the Count. 

We have Christmas roses, angelic flowers ! on 
our dinner table, mingled most becomingly with 
holly. Mother was able to see Helen Tippinge, 
but her escort, Mr. Harrison, I entertained in 
the dining-room, discovering only towards the 
end that he was the son of the Harrison — 
Frederick Harrison. 

Yesterday I lunched at the Park — only Mrs. 
Alfred Lyttelton. 




The year 1901 was perhaps the saddest of Marie 
Hawker's life. The circumstances were three- 
fold: the declining health and death of her 
mother, the increasing difficulty of her step- 
father's temper and conduct, and her own con- 
tinued delicacy and physical depression. Her 
diary during this time is mournful reading 
enough, yet not altogether sad, for the brave 
spirit of faith and patience never fails ; amid all 
the self-accusations of want of self-control we are 
aware of the growth of that steady dependence on 
a higher strength which moulded her character. 
The sense of religion she expresses is absolutely 
genuine. She was by nature hasty, impetuous 
and impatient, but so unflinchingly did she school 
herself that those who knew her in later years 
could not believe she had ever erred in those 
ways. " Aunt Marie impatient ! " exclaimed 



one of her nieces, " why she was the very gentlest 
person I ever knew." 

As we have already stated, the stepfather was 
a great and ever-present trial to his wife's family, 
and the peculiarities which were scarcely more 
than a source of entertainment in high-spirited 
youth, helped by the support of a brother and 
sister who laughed with her, became almost in- 
supportable to the delicate, overstrung woman, 
left alone and obliged continually to witness a 
domineering temper directed against a dearly 
loved and failing mother. Mr. Fennell was 
genuinely attached to his wife, and she seems on 
the whole to have understood him and, though 
much exasperated at times, to have discounted 
his tiresome ways, after the manner of married 
people. But the remarks in Marie's diary show 
plainly what the provocation must have been. 
As years went on, Mr. Fennell became so violent 
in language and temper, so unbalanced and un- 
reliable, that those who knew him best thought 
that he was not altogether accountable for his 
eccentricities. These took the very inconvenient 
form of constant interference with the household 
— coals were locked up and doled out, raids made 
upon the kitchen, and the maids scolded and 
accused till it became difficult to persuade a ser- 



vant to remain. Everyone was charged with being 
in league against the master of the house, and all 
this conduct was accentuated by a vain, wordy, 
noisy personality, without discretion and without 
consideration for the invalid or for anyone else. 
His deafness enveloped the simplest details of 
attendance on illness with a quite farcical fuss 
and fury. The mere preparation of a tray for the 
sick room was the signal for shouts of " Have you 
got this — or that ? " enumerating all the articles 
plainly visible on it, and for extraordinary mis- 
construction of the answers shouted in return. 
Her mother's illness and relapses, and the usual 
accompaniment of nagging and fussing, render 
sufficiently comprehensible Marie's lament that 
she has lost her sense of the ridiculous at a time 
when it might be gratified to the utmost. A 
short time before she had written : 

" F. performed to-night that ungrace during 
meat which consists in finding fault with every 
successive course, or its preparation or its pre- 
sentation. Mother was as surprised as if it had 
never occurred before, and I was as surprised 
(rather unsympathetically so) at her surprise. 

"How often have I felt that we are and 
have been for years and years like three squirrels 
in a cage 1 " 


Such an entry as the following acquires addi- 
tional significance : 

In the art of conduct, like all other arts, 
leaving out is of great importance. Difficult 
though it may be to realise that any merely 
negative rule can be so valuable, there is no 
doubt that by omission merely many unsatis- 
factory and many inartistic lives might be made 
not only inoffensive but admirable. 

The observance of Tact, the universally 
lauded, depends chiefly on the omission or avoid- 
ance of certain actions, or even more often of 
words. To say the right thing at the right 
time to the right person is perfection. To many 
this ultima thule is impossible, yet on the lower 
and more accessible step of not saying the wrong 
thing we may attain to that real courtesy of 
which popularity is the acknowledgment. The 
refinements of this art which come into play 
amid the more intimate communications of rela- 
tives and friends — especially relatives — are very 
subtle and complex. There are obvious rocks 
that anyone can see, but there are in many 
natures raw places that one would never expect 
and that one can often never explain. 

And again : 

The art of living successfully with others 


depends on the art of omission. By restricting 
our words and actions, or let us say words, for 
actions are of comparatively little importance, 
the chief offences would be avoided. 

The first thing needful is to learn to be quiet. 
It is the foundation for self-command of all 
kinds. The first step to speaking well is to know 
how to keep silent. In this way it comes at last 
to be the Ego itself, and not the body or the 
temperament which conducts our share of the 

The only kind of tact that is worthy of being 
cultivated by a Christian is that which is based 
on deep-laid, moral qualities. The reverence 
that honours all men — the charity that loves 
them and suffers their faults and failings — the 
humility that dares not judge them. In the 
end this would prove more attractive than the 
most consummate superficial tact, for the un- 
spoken, the undemonstrated part of a character 
reveals itself to outsiders in some indefinite yet 
impressive manner. Hence the excellent sense, 
though apparent lack of logical sequence, in the 
" I do not like you, Doctor Fell," and the 
mysterious attraction for us of people who have 
not, to our knowledge, said or done anything 
very attractive. 

After all, with men and gods it is the being 
that is the chief thing. Hence the doctrine of 


faith rather than works, with the qualification 
that without works faith is not faith. 

I begin to feel that the spiritual life, or what 
we call so, is governed by inviolable law. That 
the ebb and flow of feeling, which even the 
Saints confess, and half regret, is an inevitable 
part of the highest as of all emotions — and again 
not merely by Mercy but by Justice the patient 
cultivation of righteousness must have its reward. 

It leaves facts much the same, but I feel 
more at home in a universe where there is no 
variableness, neither shadow of turning, even if 
it should be a turning in favour of oneself. 

Probably to master the fact I have clumsily 
and indistinctly indicated and to adjust in ac- 
cordance with it all our dogmas and worship 
will be the substance of the next Reformation. 

January 23. — The Queen, always the Queen. 
An exquisite morning, saddened by the knell and 
the sight of half-mast flags at schools and church 
when I first leant out. 

Contemplating her life one gives thanks for 
her sterling sense and sanity, both becoming less 
common in these neurotic days. 

I feel sad, and when I am walking alone I 
seem to feel in the air that all-pervading sound 
whose sigh goes up from alien races and distant 


Was the unimportance of bodily presence ever 
more manifest ? As Mother said the other day, 
we have hardly seen her and yet we both literally 
loved her dearly. I thought of the ancient 
custom of killing so many slaves to follow their 
master into Hades and reflected how willingly, 
if it still prevailed (by a painless form of execu- 
tion, bien entendu), I would have joined the 
ghostly train to do her honour. 

To-day was so beautiful, not merely bright 
and sunny and mild, but so lovely, radiant with 
exquisite lights and colours, that one felt it was 
foolish to sigh for summer when winter can work 
such wonders. 

At intervals I refresh myself by reading frag- 
ments of , and though much enter- 
tained, am again struck by the superficial, 
shallow morality of novel life, even here where 
the author professes to perceive a deeper religion 
than that of the ordinary world. 

The Queen's magnificent history makes me 
feel that the perfect life must be more distinctly 
human than that of the conventional saint could 
be, and that it is perhaps possible to make the 
highest out of life by observing the ordinary 
social conventions — the things that are Csesar's 
— rather than contemptuously neglecting or 
infringing them. 

What a pity we cannot preserve the sweet 


and supple temper developed by heart-piercing 
sorrow, or even its approach. If it is separation 
that looms before us, what are we not ready to 
accept, to welcome from our dearest. Their very 
buffets in the shadow of this fear are a happiness. 
A thousandth part of the devotion they inspire 
then might carry us smoothly through the 
frictions of daily life. 

The counsels and consolations of Lecky's Map 
of Life, and other writings in the same tone, 
neither touch nor move me strongly any more. 
I have moored my soul to a faith at once simpler 
and deeper. In my philosophy, if it deserves so 
fine a name, happiness is at once included and 
transcended. I shall be glad indeed if happiness 
comes in this world, but it is not the main thing. 
Happiness of some kind, somewhere and at some 
time, I shall certainly possess, but it is dis- 
pensable and may be forgotten. 

The puzzling over life till one's head splits is 
worse than useless. The very tension reduces 
our chance by fevering our brains. Better than 
long-continued brooding is the frame of mind 
that takes up the problem as a given task, 
accepting the fact that we may blunder, but 
placing ourselves in the hands of the Invisible 
Worker Who can see to that. It is the attitude 
of the fly on the wheel, who recognises that he 
is a fly. 


She did not spare herself, and the very re- 
markable self-control she had outwardly attained 
to at this time, under such trying conditions, 
was probably determined by the spirited self- 
examination to which she subjected herself. In 
reference to the following entry it may be said 
that Marie Hawker's manners were not only 
gentle, but permeated by a precise and almost 
old-world courtesy : 

Manners. — What makes my own so shaky, 
especially at home, is a vein of egoism and hard- 
ness that, not yet mortified by all discipline, 
comes suddenly to the surface, and in word, and 
above all in tone, displays its unloveliness before 
my surprised self has realised what is taking 
place. There is impatience that quite unex- 
pectedly springs like a wild cat from the back- 
ground, and there is a kind of repellent, hedgehog 
mood that wishes to retire when other people 
approach and to be silent when they are in- 
terrogative. To reach a medium height, one 
must aim very high. Continually one must hold 
before oneself the aim of serving everyone by 
actions, by words, by pleasant tones and bright 

Saints and worldlings alike demand from us 
complete self-control. In the service of both 


worlds is it de rigueur, yet so far from possessing 
it, most people, most women especially, are con- 
trolled by their temperaments, if not by their 
bodies. And so far from every well-bred person 
keeping himself thoroughly in hand, many would 
repel such an ideal as unnatural and cold- 

A fall is often unaccountable. One is tripped 
up by unforeseen stumbling blocks in the objec- 
tive world of circumstance or the subjective 
world of feeling. One finds oneself not merely 
failing to fulfil one's resolutions, but rushing 
wildly in the opposite direction. Then there 
are teapot storms that sweep one back half way 
to the tiger before one knows what has hap- 
pened. It is extremely wearisome, but some 
temperaments must always be ridden on the 
curb. So infinitesimally small are the tempta- 
tions one has to fight sometimes, that even 
victory is inglorious. One asks, is it morbid, 
is it absurd to pay so much heed to trifles ? 
Yet the miniature may be an acknowledged 
form in the art of living, as in all other arts, 
and certainly the struggle gives a singular 
interest to the dullest life. And then we all 
have our halcyon days, when we are in tune 
with the fundamental note — exquisite moments, 
the douceurs of the mystic writers. Real as the 
rainbow, the dawn, the sunset, and like these 


the consequence and handiwork of immutable 

As we sow, we reap. And how strange and 
wonderful to find that even in this world may- 
begin the harvest of that higher happiness that 
has its source in something beyond and above 
this life. 

All those subtle forms whereby we contrive 
to irritate or to alienate others, in nine cases 
out of ten are due to lack of humility. Nothing 
is so generally intolerable and unpopular as 
bumptiousness, and if we are impulsive and 
communicative and expressive, any of this un- 
graceful quality within us is apt to make itself 
felt in tone, if in nothing more definite. One 
is often much more radically conceited than 
one imagines. 1 have a habit of asserting cer- 
tain things as if my experience was vast and 
my discrimination of evidence infallible. A 
question or a suggestion would afford just as 
good material for discussion, and would provoke 
much less opposition. One is too apt to deter- 
mine to take the lowest place and to find after- 
wards that one has pushed towards the front. 
One should be for ever striving to improve 
one's manner, and the ideal of gentleness should 
be for ever before one. Self- observation may be 
as undesirable as drugs, and likewise as indis- 
pensable under certain conditions. 


When in company with irritating persons, it 
is wise to think of them as little as possible — 
to divert one's thoughts forcibly. It is indeed 
when one is musing on their aggravating ways 
that the fire kindles. 

To differ, even from young people, needs to 
be done carefully, but with old people, as with 
monarchs, there is to be no differing — either 
assent or evasion or silence. 

In family life contradiction must be avoided, 
and only in favourable hours (to know them 
is part of tact) can dissent be ventured upon, 
and never must this dissent be abrupt or 
allowed to become impatient. It is politic as 
well as wise to take on this point the lowest 
place, even with one's juniors. Indeed how 
much more likely is one to have one's views 
accepted if one insinuates rather than asserts 
them, using the wedge method, and thus avoid- 
ing stirring the deep-laid pride which is so 
strong in human nature that it opposes itself 
to instruction or anything else that implies 

When the old do not understand we are apt 
to explain with an intonation of impatience, 
whereas the ideal expression should be one of 
apology for not being more distinct. How 
little recollection we have of the effect on 
them of illness or discomfort. 


The most powerful of all prayers is Desire. 
It is the hunger and thirst after righteousness 
that is filled ; not merely the good appetite. 
But the power to desire anything thoroughly 
and fervently, to desire it so as to be willing 
to pay the price for it, is rare as genius. 

The following months were to see the 
greatest trials to her faith and hope, but with 
the trial came something of the reward of the 
self-mastery she had gained. The tie between 
her and her mother was the strongest of her 
life. They had always loved one another with 
a passionate affection. Marie's diaries are full 
of allusions to " the Beloved One," for whose 
sake she so strongly desires to contribute to 
the peace and happiness of home. Again and 
again she expresses her determination to be 
" perfect" to her mother. "To make my daily 
intercourse with her the expression of my 
love — my appreciation — my veneration of this 
treasure — this jewel accorded me by God." 

Mrs. Fennell was one of those large-hearted, 
sweet-natured, genial women, full of character 
and vitality, upon whose personality a whole 
family seems to depend. Her warmth pervaded 
the whole house. " One felt the atmosphere as 



soon as one got inside the door," says one of her 
grandchildren. " Indeed she generally met one 
at the door, and Granny Fennell's hug was some- 
thing to remember." She was the preponderat- 
ing influence in her family. Her energy carried 
everyone along with it. She would think 
nothing of starting off to walk a couple of miles 
after dinner in the snow to take part in some 
village or neighbouring festival, or rehearsal of 
private theatricals, Marie toiling by her side. 
Her children were absolutely devoted to her 
and she to them, and the tie between her and 
the home child was specially close. Since the 
day when her daughter, at nine years old, could 
recollect her coming back to her children in her 
early widowhood, weeping, leaning her head 
against them, exclaiming, " The Lord hath dealt 
very bitterly with me," that tie had never been 
relaxed. She was closely akin to Marie in her 
sense of humour. 1 One of the daughter's greatest 
pleasures was to read aloud to her mother, and 
book after book was got through in this way. 
The harmony between them was the more 
striking because it might so easily have been 

1 A note describes how, during a sudden attack of illness, she 
whispered to her daughter, " I am too ill to speak now, but when 
I get better I shall describe to you the scene at my inquest." 


turned to discord. Though sometimes provoked 
by him almost past bearing, Mrs. Fennell was 
extremely loyal to the husband she had chosen, 
and made a point of keeping up his authority in 
the house, sometimes to a very inconvenient 
and, as it seemed to her daughter, an unreason- 
able extent. If Mrs. Fennell had been less 
indulgent and had exerted her will more de- 
cidedly, Marie could see that things would have 
gone better, but the only course which made for 
peace was to give in entirely to her mother's 
wishes and to be content with her intense 
affection . 

And now this bond, which to the woman of 
fifty-two had become the pivot of her whole 
existence, was about to be broken. 

Already at the end of 1900 she speaks of her 
mother not being well, " attacked by one of the 
sudden chills she has had so often lately." She 
has heart- sinkings over her ailing condition and 
then again come surprisingly good days. On 
January 7 one of these chills came on during the 
night, more severely than heretofore ; the doctor 
was called in, and for a week Mrs. Fennell was 
confined to her room. " Mother's improvement 
fluctuates sadly," Marie writes, when she gets 
about again. " The remedies are so exhausting. 


Her dear face looks so thin, and sometimes 
walking, her figure seems old at last." 

The clouds began to loom thicker and darker, 
and she questions what would become of her if 
her mother were taken, without yet being aware 
of any imminent danger. Mr. Fennell was 
quite as trying as might have been expected, 
wearying the patient with constant questions, 
objections to the doctor's orders, criticisms of 
everything his wife ate or did — as the daughter 
remarks, " like a perpetual blister." As her 
mother flagged more and more, Marie was com- 
pelled to face the outlook and, lying awake at 
night or in the early morning hours, was aware 
of the ever-thickening darkness drawing closer. 
Yet she never failed to keep up her spirits in her 
mother's presence, and reading Dickens aloud, 
eagerly watching for her faint laugh in the comic 
parts, she says, " I feel like the fool in Lear'' 

March was a month of ups and downs, but on 
the 22nd came what poor Marie calls " a curious 
attack " of great distress, fever, restlessness, and 
trembling hands, with the like of which she was 
to become well acquainted. It was the first 
decided symptom of the bilious fever and 
jaundice which in a few weeks' time were to 
prove fatal. 


All through April Marie is absorbed in chroni- 
cling the changes she notes from day to day. 
There come restful days when there is no dis- 
tress, no discomfort. As to whether the attacks 
will come back or not, they agree that it is 
better not to think. " I went up to the Park 
to get vegetables for her. I felt as if Camilla, 
perhaps in pity, was near me as I paced up the 
old bordered walks." (Her friend, Lady Camilla 
Gurdon, had died in 1894.) 

April 8 was "a day to be thankful for, not 
merely of rest but of improvement. Hope has 
suddenly flickered up again. A short turn and 
gathered a bunch of violets. The air is full of 
spring and the flowers are rushing out on every 
side. Mother better than she has been since 
January. Bright, clear, quite herself." 

Alas ! on the very next day the doctor broke 
to her that there was no hope. The sickness 
and fever were caused by an internal growth 
for which at Mrs. FennelTs age no operation 
was possible. 

With the dreaded certainty a wonderful calm- 
ness came to her daughter. She read aloud 
daily, the humour of Tlie Antiquary drawing 


faint laughter. The Doctor more firmly than 
ever reiterated his conviction that her mother 
was sinking; a second opinion confirmed it, 
and Marie herself was able to note one alarm- 
ing symptom after another. The tiresome 
husband was at length sobered, alarmed, appre- 
hensive, and ready to allow a nurse to be 

" Sometimes," writes her daughter, " my pain 
is almost unbearable . . . still every now and 
then I remember to give thanks for her long life 
and for her being spared the pain there might 
have been." 

From this time, in the peaceful intervals that 
came between the fever-fits, more very distress- 
ing than actually painful, they talked openly of 
the end. Mrs. Fennell settled that she would 
be buried at Hurstbourne and would have " no 
flowers " — in her old humorous way she remarked 
how beautifully her death had been timed — 
she had always dreaded it happening in very 
cold weather : " it would have been so trying 
and uncomfortable for everyone." As Marie 
read aloud Old Mortality, she felt that these 
readings were lights upon the way. She often 


became absorbed enough to forget everything 
but the story and the beloved presence. All 
questions as to what she should do later were 
swallowed up in anxiety that her mother might 
be spared suffering and that deliverance might 
come. As Mrs. Fennell set apart her ornaments 
for distribution she talked of her illness, the first 
sudden failure of strength, the worry and vexa- 
tions of the household. " But through all," she 
said, "there have been pleasant and enjoyable 
times. I have had much suffering, many 
sorrows, but my life has been delightful and I 
have enjoyed it. And then I have met with so 
much kindness. I don't mean from my own 
people," touching her daughter's hand with an 
exquisite smile, " That one expects ; but from 
hundreds of people who were no relations, 
strangers almost " — her eyes filled with tears as 
she spoke. " I don't know why they have all 
been so fond of me." 

" Mother," said Marie, " do you remember 
the little girl who was asked why everybody 
loved her ? " 

She gave as an example the Wallops having 
always been so kind and so " remembranceful, 
all of them," and added, "1 remember Rosy 1 

1 Lady Rosamond Christie. 


saying, * If you live to be a hundred you will 
never be old.'" 

She kept her attraction to the last, her 
picturesque sweetness of appearance, set off by 
curls of white hair, her humorous outlook on 
life too, criticising some proposed arrangement 
on the ground that it would interfere with the 

"This gradual decline is very merciful. I 
feel as if she were being withdrawn from us by 
a Hand so manifestly tender, with such exquisite 
gentleness, that I have not the face to object, 
and over everything to-night a sense of a Presence 
so solemn, so sweet. . . . The peculiar background 
makes room for it ; the hush, half-material, the 
subdued voices and movements, half-immaterial 
in the strained, listening attitude of the mind 
that gathers round the dying." 

The growing weakness of one so buoyant, so 
active, so self-reliant, was a heartrending ex- 
perience and extinguished her daughter's wish to 
keep her. Together with her sister she watched 
through the last days, reading dearly loved 
psalms, sorting out collections, " strange, ghost- 
like collections, locks of hair, old, old letters, 


little drawings I had made as a child for my 

" Do you remember the lines on Huxley's 
tomb ? " asked her mother two days before her 
death. " I feel so full of continued life and of 
meeting again, but if it is not to be, then that 
too is well." "Someone said to Camilla when 
she was dying, ■ Is there light at the end ? ' and 
she said, ' There is light all the way.' " 

" Then, mother, you have felt the rod and the 
staff all the way ? ' 

" Yes, all the way. . . . And you, dear, will 
be comforted and blessed in the same way when 
your turn comes. I know it." 

Speaking of the happiness of having her two 
daughters with her, she said, " When you are 
both there I have all that is most precious to 
me." And to Marie's remark as to her perfect 
confidence in the God who had given them to 
each other, she returned, " There could not any- 
where be a stronger bond. You have been my 
companion ever since you were five years old." 

" I begin to feel," writes her daughter, " that 
the disease and pain that so often attend the 
close of life are the finishing touches, rapid but 
masterly, of the invisible artist." 

The end came peacefully on the 29th of April 



and, kneeling by her, Marie saw steal over her 
face " a look of peace beyond any that I have 
known or imagined, so that in a passion of love 
and awe I clasped my hands, crying, ' Oh how 
lovely. This is His Peace.' " Later, looking on 
the dead face, she was startled by its charm. 
" It was that of a woman of twenty-eight or 
thirty, with an absolutely radiant and triumphant 
happiness mingled with its ineffable repose." 



The following letter was written ten days after 
her mother's death : 


May 8, 1901. 

Dear Lady Portsmouth, 1 — At last I find 
time to answer your kind and most sympathetic 
letter. I have often looked forward to this hour 
with terror, but unspeakably sad as it is, I have 
been sustained quite wonderfully. My dearest 
Mother's great and increasing distress towards 
the end reconciled me to anything that brought 
relief, and then her death was so lovely, or rather 
she was so lovely as it approached, that it left 
both my sister and myself with the most vivid 
and comforting sense that she was passing not 
into death at all, but into very real life. So 
much so, it is quite impossible to seriously con- 
nect her in our minds with the outworn garment 
we laid in the grave on Saturday. And I think 
in consequence we escaped much of " the sting " 

1 Wife of the present Earl. 


of pain which the mere burial inflicts on many- 

Please thank Lord Portsmouth for his letter 
of inquiry which I did not reply to, as Mr. 
Fennell had practically answered it in writing 
to Lady Portsmouth. I shall always remember 
that your house was the one in which my dear 
Mother last " broke bread " away from her own 

A few days before her death, when speaking 
with the tenderest gratitude of all the kindnesses 
she had received from various people, she specially 
mentioned you all as having been so thoughtfully 
good to her. 

With renewed thanks to Lord Portsmouth 
and yourself for sympathy, I remain, Yours 
most sincerely, Mary E. Hawker. 

Mrs. Fennell was laid to rest in the little 
churchyard at Hurstbourne. After her death, 
Marie removed to her sister's house at Home- 
croft, while Mr. Fennell, by his own wish, went 
to London for a few months. In June 1901 
she writes : 

There is some part of this time I should like 
to retain — a sense of " detachedness " from all 
things earthly, as if they had at last assumed in 


my affection the place that they deserve, as 
means to an end and of not taking too seriously 
the drama wherein every man must play his 

Sorrow like all things else has its rhythm. 
It dies away, it sinks into a gentle sadness, it is 
almost unfelt — then suddenly, as with gathered 
strength, it returns and overcomes us like a flood. 
I begin to feel that actual belief is something 
that must pervade the whole consciousness. 
This makes the enormous difference between 
belief and that facile and superficial substitute, 
intellectual assent. . . . And after all, to end, 
as it is only decently grateful to do, the trial 
has not been as terrible, as intolerable as I feared. 
His compassions have indeed not failed : like 
the rod and the staff they have been with me 

Chief, next only to Julie's presence and kind- 
ness, I count the ministry of Nature — the Beauty 
of Nature, that from first to last, in altogether 
exceptional weather, has been beside me — at one 
time beside us — soothing, sustaining, uplifting. 

If I were a poet I should write an ode to 
J.'s lilac tree. A poem in itself, it became 
by power of association, a suggestion, a poem 
set to adequate music. It spread out its frag- 
rant, blossoming boughs even to the window 
of the room that first received me, and, looking 


into the lovely maze, I could remember that my 
Darling in the same room, at the same season, 
had done the like. 

The exquisite cones flowered into perfection 
of form, colour, and of scent, then slowly faded, 
repeating the crescendo and decrescendo of all 
earthly things. 

All the time their aspect and odour mur- 
mured to me of Mother, and of Mother at 
her highest and best, as she appeared to us 
before she passed away. 

Still upon me, and all I see and feel, rests that 
light that never was on sea or land, that irra- 
diated her, that glimmered even on us as she 
went. The common, almost hackneyed meta- 
phor was literally fulfilled. Through the Gates 
of Death as they opened to receive her, flashed 
on us the light of the Heaven into which she 
passed. O Light ! O faint reflection so far 
surpassing earth's brightest radiance, do not pass 
away. Rather than lose you I would retain 
the sorrow. 

I have so far profited by my discipline that 
I can now take things more quietly, and accept 
even my repeated failures to solve the problem 
of what to do next. 

Went to Haslemere in the hope of receiving 
light directly or indirectly from George Mac- 
donald. But. alas, I found him struck dumb 


for a season, and brain-dimmed by a sunstroke. 
He was too ill to see me. I sat long in a room 
that in its paucity of furniture was in the 
present day distinguished. Such as there was, 
was ranged against the wall, leaving the rest 
of the floor uncovered. The effect was strik- 
ingly bare and likewise airy, and to my taste 

After this Marie Hawker made several ex- 
peditions to places round London, with the 
purpose of settling on some work to do ; 
charity organisation, or visiting among the 
poor ; but all fell through, and her health was 
in fact not equal to such a life. 

Returning after the last visit to Blackheath 
I came home exhausted, and lay on my bed in 
my lodgings. The day was oppressively hot. 
Through the window came the roar of London's 
traffic interspersed with the wail of distant 
organs. ... I thought of Hurstbourne with all 
its " heavy change." . . . Tea on the terrace — 
I always loved that. And on this afternoon 
it would have been so nice, so sweet, with her 
beside me on the green seat ! Constantly I feel 
that there are things I must repeat to her : 


things that would have delighted her sense of 
humour. . . . 

Shall I go to Winchester, where in the little 
haven I could live so easily and cheaply ? But 
I shrink from the ghosts of which the little 
house is full. The memory of one passionate 
and surely prophetic fit of mother-sickness, 
after I left Hurstbourne in July last. My soul 
shrinks at the prospect of having it all revived. 

No — no — let me begin my life in fresh scenes, 
free from old associations. 

The chaos of my mind is taking shape a 
little. If I do anything but drift as 1 am 
doing perforce at present, I must move towards 
my own particular vocation, which is brain- 
work. My pen runs more easily now. If it 
would begin to write seriously, my being here 
(London) would be explained and justified. 

July 22, Winchester, — Why was my in- 
visible Guide so anxious I should come here? 
All other places are now crowded and expen- 
sive. Here I was certain to find rooms. . . . 
It is over, the first page of it, and it has not 
been torture. But it has been sad enough, 
as I went through the streets and passed the 
shops she has visited so often. I went to the 
old walk on the Downs that, evening after 
evening, I visited last summer. I looked upon 


the familiar background to that strange paroxysm 
of heimweh which seized me. Alas ! all this look- 
ing back discloses that I was thinking more of 
my longing for her than of the discomfort that 
surrounded her, or of the physical oppression I 
might have guessed accompanied the change of 
spirits I could not but observe. 

If I had not been distinctly but inarticu- 
lately warned of what remorse might be after- 
wards, if I had not been stirred up to make a 
kind of culte of my conduct towards her, how 
much more terrible might have been my suffer- 

I heard in the Downs to-day that strange 
sound of the summer breeze that I never observe 
anywhere else, which has in it an ominous 
undertone of the wind that will visit these 
grassy heights in winter. 

To visit places and find not them, but one- 
self, changed — that is strange ! 

It is not merely the loss — that has changed 
the whole world — but the acute mind, body, 
and soul strain of the parting — a shock, a wrench 
— which, after youth is over, one is not likely 
to recover from. My grief may be from the 
highest point of view unreasonable, but much 
that accompanies it, the low estimate of earth's 
good things, the sense of the supreme insigni- 
ficance of what we strive after, of the vanity, 



light as gossamer, of what we deem so solid — 
this is rational. Yet futile is this disenchant- 
ment, if something Higher and Better fill not 
the blank. Often I recall Browning's exhor- 
tation : 

u Rise with it then — rejoice that man is hurled 
From change to change unceasingly, 
His soul's wings never furled." 

" The wheel has come full circle," and at the 
last I found again in Her the lovely young 
woman I as a child first knew and worshipped 
— so passionately, so romantically, that I can 
remember lying awake, weeping, in my little 
bed because I thought she had forgotten to 
come to give me her good-night kiss. 

Some one says, " Do not increase your grief 
by idealising your lost one/' But I did not 
require to do this. The suffering did it. In 
the furnace of that last week of suffering and 
distress, the little, the very little that was faulty 
in her seemed to shrivel up and disappear, and 
all that was and always had been lovely and 
adorable to shine forth like jewels recut and 
polished. There are some beings so near the 
Kingdom, their entrance is as the work of a 
few hours, instead of a lifetime. On material 
so rare, so finely moulded, a few master touches 
from the Hand of the Invisible Artist produced 


the beauty we rightly call Divine. . . . Was not 
the deepest source of her goodness and her 
charm, a child-like purity and gentleness, the 
very essence of the Kingdom of Heaven ? 

One of the advantages of coming here was to 
gain a silence in which to try to distinguish 
that message I seem to hear calling me to do 
— what ? 

Pere Didon's letters seem to throw light on 
the outline if not on the details of this unde- 
ciphered inspiration. His reminder to carry 
one's cross not merely with patience but with 
gaiety has wonderfully invigorated me. 

" Laissez agir le Dieu qui veille sur vous ; 
cest un grand artiste qui ne fait que des chefs 
d'oeuvre a la seule condition de la laisser agir'' 

Meantime the most trivial occupations seem 
to be my lot. ... I contrived to do one satis- 
factory bit of work to-day. I annotated Words- 
worth's Selections and sent it to Siola. 

I should have liked a stirring sermon to-day, 
but am rendered independent of it by Pere 
Didon's letters. They fascinate and impress 
me more and more. Why did G. recommend 
them as psychologically interesting only ? Oh, 
how I envy his power of recueillement, of prayer, 
of soaring ! 

My powers of reading and writing are return- 
ing. ... If they return now, they return in 


time to be rightly used, to Thy glory, O Father, 
to the good of any of Thy children whom I can 
reach. Strength, so insisted on in the Psalms, 
is a duty. For its cultivation an almost ascetic 
discipline may be necessary. " Stand and wait " : 
the famous quotation must be rightly under- 
stood and practised. To stand at attention, as 
waiting here implies, is very different from loll- 
ing and lying down, and means a good deal 
of effort, alertness, watchfulness. 

A study of anything, even of self, may be 
useful. I have found such confessions as these 
interesting and helpful, but the study is but a 
sketch at the best, not the complete portrait, 
for lack of skill and partly perhaps for lack 
of vision. 

I went to a prayer- meeting of the Plymouth 
Brethren last night, thinking I should escape 
theological theories — to me as tawdry as the 
tarnished images in Roman Catholic churches 
— and draw nigh to others, seeking like myself 
after the Divine. It would have been more 
inspiring if they had kept silence. The women 
are not allowed to speak. They would probably 
have been more eloquent than the men, who 
had certainly not received the gift of tongues. 
Nothing could have been more discordant with 
what they wished to express than the tone and 
manner of their delivery; mumbling, uncertain 


. . . on the whole they seemed to be too much 
" at ease in Zion." The offering of their prayers 
was one that had cost them too little in the way 
of preparation and effort. 

Attended the recitations of the High School 
girls. The most striking feature — quantity. 
Enormous. I came away with many new scenes 
in mind — suggestions for private theatricals ! 
Of histrionic talent hardly a ray perceptible. 

Nothing is more quaint than the purely 
acquired gesture ! Actors and actions unin- 
formed with true life must be, it would seem, 
grotesque and repulsive. 

Began a contemplated study of the Cathedral, 
by going over it formally with a guide. An im- 
proved modern edition of the old Proser . . . 
a flock of Americans threw into stronger relief 
this atmosphere of " old, far-off things." The 
pervading suggestions of instability and fleeting- 
ness on one side, faced by an almost awful 
persistence on the other. 

Her stay in Winchester led Marie to make 
inquiries into the work of the Charity Organi- 
sation Society, in which she thought she might 
engage. She visited the officer and became 
much absorbed in the cases related in sheafs 
of letters and notes. She felt how happy and 


perhaps wise those seemed who had found a 
definite place and employment before middle 
age, and arming herself with books on C.O.S. 
methods and the Poor Law, she waited, won- 
dering whether a life of service among the 
poor was that to which she was called: 

"I read Mrs. Browning's account of C.O.S. 
work last night, and visions floated before me 
of a life filled with work that might satisfy 
both mind and soul and enrich the desert of 
my new life." 

In August she was hurriedly summoned back 
to Hurstbourne, where Mr. Fennell, while 
staying at his younger step-daughter's house, 
had had a paralytic stroke. Marie devoted 
herself to nursing him. He was soon able to 
be moved back into his old home, and when 
this had to be vacated, he was lodged in 
Heath's Cottage, close to Longparish House, 
while his affairs were arranged. 

Mr. Fennell is described as a handsome old 
man, whose black eyes and florid complexion 
were softened by his curly white hair, beard, 
and moustache. He was perfectly complacent 
and pleased with himself, without the slightest 


conception of the trial he had been to his step- 
children and particularly to Marie. She on 
her part was willing to forgive and forget all 
the old difficulties, and all did their best to 
make him as happy as possible, and to comfort 
him for his wife's loss, which he no doubt felt 
very keenly. 

" I feel now," she writes, " that the 
6 Shewing ' of Mother's death would not be 
complete without the after shewing of Dof's 
illness. As I was supporting and feeding him, 
my struggle was past. As he rested stricken 
and helpless in my arms, I seemed to feel 
pulsing through me the waves of a great, a 
limitless sea of love, ceaselessly and un- 
weariedly flowing, and by its persistent good- 
ness subduing all things to itself. 

" Certainly my vague reaching after some 
service was a true instinct. It has ended my 
hear ache as a dose of quinine stops neuralgia. 
I receive much undeserved pity, for I have 
been less unhappy this last week than ever 
since my loss. Often I am folded in such a 
restful mood that it seems to pass from my 
spirit to my nerves. When I was sitting 
eating a picnic lunch on the Beggar's Stile, 
I felt as if Mother was blessing me. How 


beauty, the natural beauty I love most, has 
followed and befriended me all this summer. 
The lovely little garden that the writing-table 
window overlooks greets me with what is like a 
smile every time I look up from my writing. 

" The more I think of it the more I feel that 
mercy and goodness have indeed frequented 
and followed me here. Nothing else would 
have so smoothed away the soreness, as of a 
seared skin, which seemed to shrink from every- 
thing and everybody in the neighbourhood. 
And then how easily, gently, and irresistibly 
have I been led to forgive. 

" Henceforth I intend neither to be anxious 
nor to strive. One of my great faults in the 
past was trying to make people happy against 
their will. 

"August 22. — Yesterday I lunched sitting 
under a tree on the brow over Hurstbourne. I 
saw the Hurstbourne woods in the early afternoon 
sunlight. It was the strangest feeling, looking 
down towards the home of thirty years. Empti- 
ness and silence seemed to inhabit it. It was 
like a grave. The genius who directs my steps 
delights in dramatic touches, such as I myself 
gladly use in story-telling. Suddenly from the 
valley came a burst of cheerful music ; the band 
going to the Hurstbourne Flower-show ! 

" To-day I reflected, discouraged, that after all 


said and done, he still disliked me, is so often 
cold in his manner and harsh in his intonation, 
while so gracious to some others. And that 
afternoon tears came into his eyes and he pulled 
my face down to kiss it ! It is a wonderful 
time, * a retreat ' made for me. Solitary morn- 
ings and evenings, days of action and almost 
sacred service, in the little house with humble 
companions. Glimpses of the ordinary social 
world seen as through a grating formed by my 
occupation and my deep mourning. The twi- 
light of the sick or sad seems to harmonise best. 
No gaiety, save that of Nature's, which is al- 
together heavenly. And then Nature's is not 
gaiety ; it is gladness." 

During the sad winter of 1901 she remained 
at Hurstbourne with few intervals, looking after 
Mr. Fennell and his nurse and endeavouring to 
induce him to decide on future plans and to 
make arrangements for disposing of his furniture 
and leaving the house. With a flash of her old 
fun she gives a description of Mr. Fennell's 
essays to make his will — of the sheets of foolscap 
paper lying about covered with formal legal 
phrases, but unsigned, giving visitors the im- 
pression that the step-daughter was trying to 


make the aged invalid bequeath his money 
against his wish. Mr. Fennell was capricious 
and provoking, and even at this juncture Marie 
often had an exciting effect upon him which 
made occasional absence judicious, but he had 
grown fond of her in his way and dependent on 
her presence. 

The Supreme Will takes the place of one's 
own inclination. But the exquisite freedom 
and peace — not always felt, but implicitly 
believed in, rewards this sacrifice — rushing in 
as air rushes in to fill a vacuum. 

What God does by His disciples, and we do 
by our will, is to make room for His presence, 
His light. Yet even this is not always con- 
sciously with us, and when it is not, the blank 
of that swept and garnished room is deathlike. 
Then indeed we must walk by Faith. But 
when the Light does flow in, how lovely is 
its radiance, how wise its reflection, beautifying 
all the outlook. One feels how much, by 
suffering and struggle, Love has been able 
to bestow. I think I understand where the 
flaw of the Jesuit system lies. It is in carrying 
into the whole monastic and ascetic system an 
artificial system, which however useful and 
under certain circumstances inevitable, remains 


artificial and therefore imperfect. Imperfect, 
that is, as compared with the natural education 
of Family, Society, Nation. It is a forcing 
system, and by its more painful efforts does not 
produce the savour or fragrance, nor perhaps 
the entire and perfect contour of the fruit that 
Nature and Grace together working, ripen in 
their own time and in their own way. 

In the spring of 1902 a very severe attack of 
influenza, which attacked her in London, laid 
her up for some weeks, but at length, on April 
8, she writes to Lady Portsmouth that, with 
his niece's help, she had accomplished the really 
Herculean task of getting Mr. Fennell and his 
"things " out of Hurstbourne. 

During the convalescence that followed she 
writes : 

Prayer, in its highest sense, the truly fervent 
desire for goodness, acts in what we should call 
an automatic way. It is not that from our 
point of view God answers the prayer, but that 
the prayer is answered by infallible law. Just 
as when heat of a certain degree is applied to 
certain materials they take fire. No doubt they 
do so by the design and therefore by the will of 
God, but that is not the way the fact is recog- 


nised by minds still undivested of the vague 
impression that God's will is like man's will, 
changeable and changing. So we are haunted 
by the unavowed suspicion that our prayers 
may or may not be granted because God may 
or may not will to grant them. But when we 
pray sincerely, that is actually desire the highest 
good, that highest good by the law of the 
universe — which is the will of God — must be 
ours — in time. 

I felt sadly in the watches of a wakeful night 
how separated one is from even the best loved. 
We are like actors in a play whose real coun- 
tenances are hidden and belied by the masques 
they wear. It is not the real person, it is his 
temperament that thrusts aside and hurts his 
neighbour's soul. I see more and more dis- 
tinctly that the way to the Divine is through 
the Human, so it is of supreme importance to 
be human. 

Mr. Fennell was by his own wish moved to a 
Nursing Home near London. Marie was con- 
stantly with him until a few months later he 
had another stroke and died. She was able to 
feel that at the last she was a comfort and a 
help to him, and this was a great consolation 
to herself. 



Several friends, cousins, and nieces have given 
the impression left on them by Marie Hawker 
in middle age. After her stepfather's death she 
returned to normal life, and while keeping on 
the little refuge at Winchester, was much with 
her married sister in her home close to Hurst- 
bourne. Though her health continued to be an 
ever-present trial, time was gradually softening 
the sense of her mother's loss ; the first keen- 
ness was past, though she never lost the mystic 
sense of communion with the Unseen that 
sorrow and bereavement had deepened into such 

" What was she like when she came into a 
room?" says one of her closest friends, and 
answers, " You saw a woman with a plain face, 
but an attractive face, a slight, undeveloped 
figure, dressed in an old-maidish way, inap- 



preciative of current fashion." That she was 
badly dressed was often due to the fact that 
she was employing some failure as dressmaker, 
to whom no one else would give work. For a 
whole winter after her home was broken up, 
she lived in one room, to set up a needy work- 
woman in a business in which she promptly 
failed. " I can see she is all wrong," Marie 
would say plaintively ; " she bulges out and goes 
in, all at the wrong places." But in spite of 
these disadvantages Marie was extremely dainty 
and precise in her attire and her arrangements, 
and her own plain needlework and knitting had 
the same sort of perfection that marked her 

In the winter she used to write after break- 
fast : her diary, extracts from books she had 
been reading, notes of any sayings or incidents 
that had amused her. After luncheon she was 
ready to talk ; " that was interesting. She seemed 
to put interest into the dullest subjects, and to 
impart information in such a way that she made 
one think." 

It was impossible to live with her without 
being struck by two very strong characteristics. 
Her deep religious feeling, which seemed to 
have all the fervour of the Puritan without any 


of its narrowness. Life with her was a thing to 
be enjoyed and made the most of, and any 
pleasure that helped was to be welcomed as a 
divine gift. For herself, with her books, the 
country, and those she loved round her, she was 
happy. For those who cared for frivolous 
amusement she was full of loving sympathy, and 
indeed often helped to procure it for them. 
Her keen sense of humour was her other dis- 
tinguishing trait. As a raconteuse she was 
inimitable. She overlooked no slighest touch 
of humour in a situation, and yet the ridiculous 
side was brought out in a sympathetic and 
kindly manner. You could never say she 
laughed at people ; she laughed with them. 
The sense of loss touches almost inevitably 
with sadness our recollection of the one who is 
gone, but Marie was essentially a joyous person. 
She would have been the last to subscribe to a 
gospel of sadness and despair. 

During a winter spent with her, her cousin 
noticed how many letters she received from 
publishers and editors asking for stories and 
articles, offering her own terms. Urging her to 
accept one, the answer, " My dear, I caii't ; I 
wish I could," first conveyed to her hearer, by 
look and tone, what a grief it was to her that 


her broken health had destroyed the power of 
creation. It was difficult for the cursory ob- 
server to realise this, for she was so full of 
interest in all that went on, helping with 
theatricals and seeming to enjoy the gay babble 
of a household of young people. 

A niece who was going to be married, speaks 
of the sympathy with which her Aunt Marie 
talked over the new life before her, giving wise 
advice, full of insight, as to the making of 
friends and the taking up of charities and other 
fresh responsibilities. Her observation of the 
young nephews and nieces by whom she was 
surrounded was very keen, and she notes all 
sorts of characteristics of which they were 
probably not themselves aware, chronicling 
with great pleasure every sign she observes of 
dawning talent or goodness of disposition. 

Behind all, go on the "thought notes," the 
remarks and reflections : 

There is an instinct that compels some people 
to cap everything whether as anti-climax or 
not. R. said something about the coronation, 
and that one of his schoolfellows was to be 
a page — " Ah, yes — we too — my wife has a 
great friend — Maude T. she was before she 


married — and she has a friend whose son is 
going to be a page." 

October 5, 1902. — My favourite month. These 
beautiful autumn afternoons ! Visions of what 
I used to walk home to through such lights and 
colours hover tantalisingly before me. The little 
drawing-room in the gathering twilight, with 
gleams from the fire dancing on tiled hearth and 
flickering on china and gilding and in the midst 
the beloved figure — a longing flashes across me 
for every detail of that afternoon scene. The 
very tea-table and burnished tray. 

A beautiful day has always been to me a 
solid good. But now it is more. After one has 
aged and suffered it becomes a sacrament. 

October 30. — Lunched at the Park. The 
first time since I lunched there with Mother the 
Christmas before last. Leaving in the afternoon, 
the burnished beechwoods glowing in the golden 
autumn sunlight were piercingly beautiful. It 
was like the past recalled to me by exquisite 

November 2. — The foliage is rendered tenfold 
more lovely by wind and weather. The form and 
substance are more transparent, more spiritual- 
ised, the colour as exquisite as ever. 



What grief leaves at a certain stage is a kind 
of aloofness to even the good and innocent things 
of this life, save to natural beauty and music — 
real music — which seem to belong less to this 
life than to the life beyond. 

That face of nature in sky and wood, in field 
and lane and water, which has always said so 
much to me, speaks now in its richest and 
sweetest tones. Thirty years ago — nay, later — 
the aspect and atmosphere of autumn exhilarated 
me like sparkling wine. I recall with strange 
wonder the joyousness of that time. Compared 
with sensations of the present, it is like being 
borne along by smooth-running wheels, compared 
to marching with way-worn feet. Yet the tired 
pilgrim knows she is the happier. 

November 4. — I went to my Mecca, Hurst- 
bourne. 1 knew that on a sky so clear and radiant 
the woods would be superb. They were. Most 
of all seen from the field beside the old home. 
There, leaning against the paling, I remained 
long in contemplation before that great bank of 
colour, mystic, wonderful, glimmering through 
the enchanted haze of an autumn afternoon. 
My eyes looked straight towards Mother's grave, 
but saw it not, only the church tower, rising 
from the trees and dominating all the flaming 
woods. Felt rather than seen in the foreground, 


the little red house, where 1 had loved and 
suffered and struggled for so long, supplied one 
more note to this full chord of symbols. 

Love Divine I Thou art shown to us in 
such beauty as this that I look upon, but in the 
loving, suffering and faithful toiling of life, Thou 
art with us. 

Yet this is the crest of the wave. There are 
times when I seem to note only the failings of 
those around me and to see them magnified, 
when noisy jesting not only palls (which might 
be excusable), but seems to provoke critical and 
sour condemnation. And such tempers of mind, 
though if firmly resisted, they cannot impel, yet 
repress and retard. Sometimes out of them too 
flashes up speech and action before one recognises 
what has happened. One finds oneself ex- 
pressing an opinion not from conviction, but 
from an unsuspected root of disapproval and 

1 marvel at the undesirable transformation, 
under the excitement of men's society, in some 
girls. One becomes loud and affected who is 
normally gentle and refined. Laughs too loud 
and too easily — puts on a mincing or would-be 
fascinating manner — and above all, voice — ex- 
presses exaggerated surprise at remarks or infor- 
mation in no way very startling. Is there in all 
intoxication this disclosure of the animal nature, 


the temperament ? Is it the same impulse that 
makes us on impulse speak words or do things 
we instantly disapprove of? Probably we are 
constantly committing faults, of commission or 
omission, which we do not perceive, as they are 
not sufficiently startling to arrest our notice. 

We talked of death to-day in the twilight. 
N. confessed that her eerie shrinking from a dead 
body has never been overcome by the death of 
any loved one yet. It takes deep love to cast 
out this fear. I said probably the only death 
that would exorcise it would be the death of 
a child — her own. 

J.'s biography has some sympathetic touches. 
The preponderance of the inner life. The sense 
of the vanity of popular existence — reached so 
much earlier than in my experience. Also it 
awakens regret for the intellectual power I have 
never possessed, still more for that I have lost. 
The ability to study or write for hours would 
free me not only from much weariness, but from 
much danger. Besides, it is sad in one's own 
favourite domain to be able to advance so little. 

I have been less sad lately and more dull 1 

November 28. — A lovely winter view at 
Dobson's Corner. The bright evening of a 
rainy day. A soft tinge of pink over the eastern 
clouds and a glow on the Common. Its tints 


untarnished, clear, new washed by the day's 
showers. The green of the grass brilliant and 
the dull tint of the sedges changing under this 
magic light to something soft and warm. 

December 4. — Going the other day towards 
Hurstbourne Priors, moved as I have so fre- 
quently been by the fancy that I might have 
been "going home to tea with her," I was 
conscious for the first time of a kind of shrinking 
from this idea, as if incompatible with the re- 
leased and glorified creature I have been now 
for so long thinking of. It was incongruous, 
even in fancy, it was almost cruel to wish to 
imprison that radiant soul in the aged, frail, ever 
weakening body which disguised and hampered 
it in those later years. 

December 14. — In the silence and darkness of 
early winter morning I woke to a weird sense of 
desolation. I looked into a joyless, meaningless 
hollow, unspeakably drear. And I thought, Must 
one pass through this ? Instantly, the words, 
" Though I pass through the valley . . ." came 
to me, and the thought that it had been so ordered, 
that the most heartrending memories of my life 
are by His mercy interwoven with thoughts of 
Divine comfort and consolation. So, as one 
whom his mother soothes, I fell asleep. 


An invitation to stay at the Park. A kind of 
physical shrinking from the prospect overpowered 
my really sincere mental desire to go. One day 
I would have ventured : Before the inevitable 
two I recoiled. 

December 22. — Lady Portsmouth by giving me 
another choice enabled me to go for one night. 
It was as usual an interesting visit, though I 
was much encumbered by shy cramp, not by my 
hosts, but by the crowd of guests . . . and yet 
all the time, under everything, calm and a sense 
of the divine reality. 

The common formula, " How time flies ! " 
gives me a thrill of pleasure, which I try to re- 
press, remembering that merely to get through 
one's task is not all. What if one passed through 
life only into infinite regret ? 

I speak of dumb notes in some people. But 
in some, often good and amiable persons, whole 
octaves are missing. 

Her old friends at Hurstbourne Park remark, 
perhaps with the recollection of this short visit 
in their minds, that it was very difficult to get 
hold of her in these latter years. Also that she 
had always seemed very diffident ; not intellectu- 
ally confident of herself, and that now she was 


happier talking to women than to men. She 
often gave that impression in later life, and the 
pleasantest talks she took part in were always 
with a party of women. With three or four 
congenial friends she could still be the best of 
good company, but often she became the on- 
looker, one " who did not seek society for any 
social purpose " ; she gave the effect of an 
observer, of the kindly, but keen-sighted critic. 
Her own vitality had become so much lowered 
that she felt she had little in common with 
practical aims and the active and vigorous life of 
practical men. It was not always easy to escape 
lionising her. People asked continually if the 
author of the books which had made such an 
impression were not living near, and said how 
much they should like to meet her, but when 
they did so she was very apt to retire into her 
shell and was not easy to draw out. She alluded 
sometimes with a touch of ridicule to those 
acquaintances who always greeted her with, "And 
what are you writing now ? ' : On the other 
hand if her companions made no attempt to 
exploit her, and seemed to take for granted that 
she could talk on other subjects than her own, 
she became interested, the barriers fell, and she 
quickly recognised kindred spirits and made 


friends. But her real interests were increasingly 
bound up in that spiritual world which had 
become more vivid to her than any other. 
Nearly a year later, she writes : 

Regret can become a passion and enthrall 
like a passion and like a passion it must be fought 
and conquered. Occupation is almost the best 

The remembrance of our times of most over- 
whelming grief, especially in the shadow of 
death, becomes at last a comfort, because the 
very depth of the suffering and of the love 
that was its cause imply a depth and height 
which far transcend the compass of this little 
commonplace existence. One feels that this 
dull round of petty cares and occupations and 
trivial talk cannot be the sequel to that tragedy 
in which for a little while we played our part. 
No, the curtain has fallen for a time, and on 
either side we and the departed wait the 
denouement, the drama's inconceivable and per- 
fect climax. 

There are seasons when the mind is so tem- 
pered by sadness, so tense with the aspiration be- 
gotten by sadness, that it reaches a kind of 
semi- consciousness of the life beyond and of 
the Beloved who are there. It is a little like our 


sub- consciousness of the dear ones who are still 
on earth and yet invisible and distant. I see 
only the view from my window with the autumn 
afternoon deepening over it ; I am dimly aware 
of much wider scenes. And so too one is 
sometimes aware of the existence of the dear 
dead. They seem to float like " great Intelli- 
gences fair " in some vast firmament, not merely 
unapproachable, but inconceivable to human 
sense and fancy, and yet in some way linked 
to us, like the ether that enfolds the little 
street where I write and solar systems that are 
still undiscovered. 

This is a feeling different and distinct from 
that other and rarer one, of their being present 
with us, visiting us as it were. 

October 9. — Strange desolation in autumn 
evening walks, through the darkness, by win- 
dows rosy-red with fires and lights. 

We talked to-day of the obvious unhappiness 
in Heaven of the wicked. It is not only the wil- 
fully wicked who might be unhappy in Heaven. 
Fleshpots of every kind have their charm, and 
even amidst the manna may be sorely missed 
at times by an, as yet, uncivilised spirit. 

She never thought of herself as other than 
a faithful member of the Church of England, 


yet some would have considered her unorthodox. 
She set no limit to thought and she could not 
acknowledge that sects erected any barriers be- 
tween souls. Yet she recognised that there 
were stumbling blocks to perfect sympathy : 

One may willingly meet together with 
Christians of any form or sect, but not without 
being reminded from time to time with a slight 
shock that one belongs to the next, the yet 
unformed Church. One rock is prayer — prayer 
even for spiritual food. To-day the gentle and 
kindly minister of the Presbyterian Church spoke 
of God answering the fervent prayer for souls, 
by saving them, as if but for those prayers 
He would not have done so. In fact, was less 
merciful and loving than ourselves. 

The theoretical basis of prayer must be re- 
arranged. Perhaps as mere asking it may have 
to be renounced. In any case if prayer has 
any effect, it cannot be upon God. 

I do pray, i.e. ask for spiritual gifts — for 
guidance especially, but always with the con- 
viction that I am formulating a desire stronger, 
unutterably stronger in God than in myself, 
which He rejoices to see me share. 

And the prayer for others ? It is surely, 
like all the best prayers, one of the many forms 


of " Thy will be done." A union of our feeble 
desire with His powerful one, an outreaching 
of love towards the souls we pray for. 

This constant malaise (neurasthenia or what ?) 
is lifted a little as a mist is lifted, and place, 
people, and situation are all more attractive. A 
sudden relaxation of some hidden things in one's 
wonderful organisation shows one how almost 
painfully overstrained they had been before. 
This constantly recurring affection is wearisome, 
but it is easier to bear than pain. The intel- 
lectual stagnation is almost the worst. It is 
sad to be shut out of one's favourite kingdom. 



One of Marie's rare journeys abroad took place 
early in 1904, when with Mr. and Mrs. Harry 
Hawker and their children she visited Switzer- 
land. It had been difficult to persuade her to 
join the party, but the plan succeeded admir- 
ably. She was very well, liked the life and en- 
joyed the music at the Kursaals, was cheered 
by the merry young nephew and nieces, and 
full of humorous observations of the tourists. 
The Germans who colonised in the Kursaal with 
games and work, the English ladies who con- 
versed loudly through the strains of Bach and 
Beethoven on the merits of a spirit lamp, the 
hotel management which in and out of season 
maintained the absolute perfection of the 
climate (" Mais il pleuvait hier ! " " Oui, mais 
hier, cela £tait historique "), the American lady 
who between German and English amenities 
described herself as " alternately grilled and 
frozen," all came in for her keen comments. 



Dull people were not the same trial to her as 
they would have been to a less penetrating 
nature, but when she speaks of the average 
Evangelical or Low Church person as being 
characterised by a certain density of perceptive 
power, she exclaims, " If they could only learn 
that besides being, as they are ready enough 
to acknowledge they are, miserably sinful, they 
are also miserably dull, they would at once be 
raised spiritually and perhaps incidentally, in- 
tellectually also, to a much higher level." 
At Lucerne she writes : 

" I say my morning prayers whenever possible 
kneeling at the open window, so, while I bathe 
my soul in the Divine, bathing my body in that 
pure outer air which is the sign and sacrament 
of the Divine Presence. To-day it seemed as 
if a beautiful altar-piece had been built in the 
night by angels to lift up our hearts. The 
majesty of that incomparable mountain line, 
the lake that reflected it, the sky, the air, the 
light ! They drew me away from my daily 
petitions into a burst of thanksgiving. Climb- 
ing to Glion on January 30th, a sunny, crisp 
day, was like a chapter in Revelation. The 
Grammont mountains seemed to belong to the 
New Jerusalem. Their beauty marked that 


high pitch which pierces as well as delights and 
passes quickly into longing — that longing the 
least have felt and the greatest have failed to 

How long one sometimes has to wait for 
answers to certain reiterated exclamations of 
the soul. But they come at last, when one is 
not expecting them, and, like all facts, they are 
not so much explained as all at once perceived. 

That beloved past to which memory stretches 
out such longing tender arms, those days that 
remain so indescribably more real than this 
dreamlike present, they are more, they are one 
with it, part of one great whole, true and co- 
herent thought and manifestation of the Divine, 
working to an end I know not, but still joyously 
accept. In God we find all things ; even the 
days that are no more. 

The Gorge du Chaudron seen all black and 
bare as winter has left it is like a canto of 
Dante's, or one of the Penitential Psalms. 
There is a point where the rush of the water 
becomes a roar, and its menacing voice recalls 
the terror of an agony that draws near. As I 
passed through the gorge 1 seemed to see repre- 
sented, in one superb symphony of stone and 
water, all the suffering that so many, many had 
experienced. The long ice poniards pierced my 
very heart's core by reminding me of the frozen 


tears that gather round unutterable sorrow. 
We must all, sooner or later, pass through the 
Gorge du Chaudron if we would reach our 
Father's Home. His greatest Son could not 

When after long toiling through its stern 
walls, to the sad singing of its waters, the pil- 
grim looks up for consolation, on sunlit peaks 
far above he sees the snow and knows at last 
what whiteness means. 

The humblest and most primitive facts in 
life are most congenial to the music of the 
spheres. In crudest dissonance sounds the 
course of conventional social life, the babble of 
society, its routine, its amusements, its aims. 
Not so the simple elements of human life : the 
sowing and reaping, the building, the cooking, 
the sweeping and cleaning. 

The commonest gifts are the best. Bread, 
water, air. Of all the influences of beauty, is 
any one more precious than the blue of the sky ? 
I remember how once travelling in wild anxiety 
I looked out of the carriage window and sud- 
denly, from the deep unfathomable blue above, 
derived a sense of consolation and peace that 
astonished while it soothed me. 

It was hoped that the Hawkers' stay abroad 
would be a prolonged one and that Marie would 


accompany them every year and so avoid the 
long lonely winters. It seemed an excellent 
solution of many difficulties, but it was not to 
be. Mrs. H. Hawker's health gave way un- 
expectedly. They were obliged to return to 
England, and though still constantly with her 
relations, Marie was impelled from time to time 
to withdraw to her Winchester rooms. The 
love of being alone, a marked characteristic of 
her family, grew upon her, and though she was 
still hoping to take up some definite work, as 
the days passed on and her health more decidedly 
declined, she was much thrown in upon herself 
and had to face the fact that there was little 
hope of her playing any active part in life. 
Resignation and stillness were henceforth to be 
the part assigned to an impulsive, eager nature 
which she had often herself accused of being too 
anxious to make others happy in its own way. 
The ideal she places before herself is impressive 
because of the testimony borne by all with whom 
she had to do, of her patience, her sweetness, and 
her loving interest in others. Her conversation 
was still delightful. Her cousin, Mr. Henry 
Houndle, of whom her journal speaks as being 
" so linked up with the old life," recalls with 
pleasure the great interest of her political talk. 


Keen as she had always been on the Liberal 
side, she was able to discuss contemporary 
politics, not only without heat, but with a wide 
survey, a pithy good sense that, if it did not con- 
vert her interlocutor, at least raised questions and 
suggested many points to think over : 

Perfect serenity is the mark of the soul that 
rests perfectly in God, without discontent, with- 
out chafing. As He shapes the day so it is to be 
received. Hour by hour, each little imposed or 
assumed duty or pleasure, each as they come, are 
to be quietly performed and peacefully enjoyed 
or suffered. 

Annoyance when I desire repose, change when 
I am disposed for rest, dullness when I crave 
amusement, failure and incapacity when I long 
for success and victory. 

It demands courage. If you have it not by 
nature, it must be acquired. Deference is 
beautiful, but not a craven fear of others. A 
due regard for their feelings makes us careful, 
but not morbidly or timorously careful. Ridi- 
cule or displeasure must sometimes be faced, 
you must resist to the death that hypnotic strain 
if you have it in you, that inclines you to yield 
to persuasion, wise or unwise, that makes it diffi- 
cult for you to say no, or to do the opposite of 



what is expected of you. It is no true love of 
your brother. The resignation of one's own will- 
is only admirable in him who has the strength 
to retain both. The lowliness and self-efface- 
ment inspired by weakness is entirely distinct 
from true humility, of which it is often the 

Beware of the distraction of pain or ill-health 
in any form. The thing itself may be grappled 
with, removed, but the, for a time, inevitable 
distress must, if serenity is to be maintained, 
be taken up and carried cheerfully as a cross. 
Otherwise, fretting over it, you forget your 
resolutions, and serenity and self-possession fall 
from you like an ill-fastened cloak. Oh ! help 
me to acquire complete possession of Thyself, 
especially when distracted by the confused brain 
and harassed nerves of ill- health, and in spite of 
it to go forth "smiling firmly," to do what I 
can, as well as I can. 

What the saints call recollection is so difficult 
to maintain. It is a temper rather than a 
thought. The mind must be employed about 
its work if the thing on hand is to be done 
with all one's might, but it may be done in- 
tently and yet in a serene attitude, instead, as 
it too often is, in an anxious, flustered, or too 
eager mood. The interruption, which was no 
interruption, the short pause for aspiration, 


helped to make the work all prayer in the old 
monastic rule. 

What an overwhelming sense of my imper- 
fections comes over me, that at my age, with 
my few faint temptations, I should find a 
difficulty in overcoming them, and with this an 
overwhelming sense of the temptations of youth 
and a great determination to be very merciful 
to the young. 

No distraction is less agreeable and more 
powerful than that of bodily malaise, and against 
this, just because I am particularly subject to 
it, I do well to arm myself. It stifles as well as 
distracts. One's thoughts are not merely 
directed from the main object ; they seem as 
incapable of grasping it as if they had been 

This is more than distraction : it is depression. 
What can one do ? Only so far follow Christian 
Science — if one cannot absolutely deny that 
one is ill, at least ignore it as far as possible. 
The sense of sadness, of home-sickness for the 
past, of loneliness in the present, waiting to 
meet one when one first opens one's eyes, some- 
times clinging to one all day, let me take it up 
like any other cross. Let me also forget it as 
much as possible, in striving to do what there is 
to do as perfectly as possible. 

Was it St. Catherine who made a little 


oratory in her heart whereto she might retire 
when she wished? I would like to build one 
about me. An aura, a sanctuary of Rest, 
founded on entire submission, where without 
agitation, without irritation, without fear, I 
might suffer what I have to suffer and do what 
I have to do still on the earth, and yet in my 
Father's Court. 

How exquisite is the sun in which I sit 
steeped. So pure as well as so warm, so life- 
giving. It might be my mother folding me in 
her arms. 

It was a great pleasure to her to put up a 
window to her mother's memory in the little 
Hurstbourne Church. It is the only stained 
glass there : a narrow slip in the chancel, and 
in keeping with Marie's sense of her mother's 
hopeful, thankful nature, the idea and spirit 
of the golden angel, holding a scroll inscribed 
" Praise the Lord, O my soul ! " is one of joy- 
fulness and light. 



During the last few years of her life, Marie's 
health declined rapidly, so that though she was 
not till the last a complete invalid or confined 
to bed, no work could be undertaken, and she 
passed much time at her lodgings in Winchester 
or at Richmond. At both she had kind land- 
ladies who knew her well; at Winchester a 
Swedish masseuse was much attached to her and 
her services had become very necessary. The 
failure of the digestive organs made it difficult 
for her to take ordinary nourishment. She was 
too much inclined to give up food entirely, 
and it was no wonder the doctors pronounced 
her brain to be " starved." " My brain feels 
wooden," she would say. In the last year of 
her life appeared Old Hampshire Fignettes, 
a little book of studies of the more typical 
inhabitants of the village she knew so well. It 
was slight, yet, as a friend said, " bringing with 
it the sound and the scent of the water meadows 



and the vision of the beloved country and its 
people as nothing else could do." Her grip on 
her characters is very tight, and not only those 
who knew and loved the scenes she described, 
realised the actors in them as living men and 
women. But even this slight effort was too 
much for her ebbing strength. The only way 
in which she could utilise the thoughts with 
which her brain was still teeming was in the 
" thought notes" of her diaries. Her high- 
minded sincerity shines through every page of 
these, and she went on with them however ill 
and depressed, sometimes for her own benefit, 
but also with the hope, more than once ex- 
pressed, that her experience might prove of use 
to others and that so she might be able to speak 
to them. Her power to realise the difficulties 
of the spiritual life and her frankness in tran- 
scribing what she knows must appeal to the 
sympathy of many who will feel the touch of a 
kindred experience, and her mind is of the calibre 
that not only confronts difficulties but suggests 
remedies : ^ 

Men could hardly preach anything better to 
such an age than restfulness and calm, for now 
most of us have come to a pitch when we can 






hardly hear each other, far less God. Yet it is 
not so much that one is deafened by the rush 
of the world as by one's own temperament. 

First comes not so much submission as joyful 
assent to God's will, to the part He has appointed 
for me in the great scheme that works to the 
"divine far-off event." The rest is courage, the 
cultivation of Fearlessness, the firm resistance 
to the vain tendency that shrinks from ridicule 
and disapproval and is swayed and affected by 

Last, and far, far the most important of all, 
having cleaned and silenced the room, is Love, 
love of the brethren, by scrupulously excluding 
the faintest shade of uncharitable feeling, of 
irritation or resentment or harsh judgment ; of 
excluding them by stirring up kindly feelings, 
by attentively considering the good side, the 
kind actions of everyone I am tempted to blame, 
and by praying fervently for them, still more by 
serving them if it can only be by manner. 

The half hour with which my inward dressing 
for the day begins includes an attempt to get 
myself into the right frame of perfect serenity, 
without agitation, without fear, resting on God, 
loving all men. 

When the thought of what I missed in the 
past in the way of patience and forgiveness 
rushes over me, the sense of keen regret is 


healed and soothed by the thought of the in- 
effable goodness and grace by which I was en- 
abled in the end to forgive, to forget, to love 
and serve my old enemy — an end as beautiful in 
my memory as one of Bach's fugues. I hope 
that all which seems egotistical in this is not 
merely selfish. I wish it might prove of use to 
others, forlorn and shipwrecked like myself. 

I walked to Chilcomb on a brilliant autumn 
morning for service. As it happened there was 
none, but, having procured the keys, I sat alone 
in the exquisite little church. The autumn 
aspect, the autumn scents had struck a note, 
sweet and sad, and the interior of the church, 
whose early Roman arches and windows show 
its great age, struck another in the thought of 
the many generations who had worshipped there. 
The golden sunlight lay "in pools" upon the 
brick pavement, and the hum of a bee resounded 
in the stillness. That silence, as intense silence 
so often does, seemed to suggest a noiseless 
presence. It was so easy to fancy I was sur- 
rounded by worshippers, perhaps Mother amongst 
them, and as if from them to me flowed the 
deep sense of peace. I did feel, without regret, 
without desire, that all was, is, and shall be 

I read through a great deal of the service 
myself, while the bee, in complete harmony 


with the invisible choir, sounded his little 

Combined with a stronger sense of devotion 
comes a great sense of peace — a feeling as if I 
had suddenly fallen into step with the march of 
the Universal advance, and as if all things work 
together for good because I am at last working, 
or trying to work with all things, instead of 
striving against them. 

September 1904. — I shall be glad for more than 
one reason when the Hampshire Vignettes are 
finished. I feel like Grimaldi, and only hope the 
reader may be as merry as the writer has been 
sorrowful. After being steeped in the sunny 
atmosphere of the old Hurstbourne Priors life 
that surrounds each subject, my actual life 
shows solitary and sad. Whilst I am writing 
it is pleasant enough — too pleasant — it is the 
awakening as I lay down my pen that is the trial. 

I notice how commonly, how constantly 
Camilla's figure stands out from the others. 
The one most individually concerned of all, 
except mine own people. 

When one has strength enough to talk 
coherently and clearly, one seems hardly to 
have strength to control the talk, not to talk 
a shade unwisely. I always go back and repeat 
my old rule — to speak only what is needful. 


To try to speak deliberately. What is needful 
includes, of course, words and remarks demanded 
by courtesy, to set people at their ease, to 
amuse them, to help them to talk well. And 
for all this as a rule, so little will suffice. To 
learn to control one's conversation as one learns 
to control one's breath in breathing lessons 
should be one's aim. But then speech must not 
be omitted from indolence or lack of interest in 

I had a glimpse to-day of what the Presence 
of God is : an actual, a physical neighbourhood, 
not the least the shadowy, ghost-like existence 
of our common conception. 

I have always the feeling of getting more into 
step with the great Cosmic march — as if every- 
thing was shaped for me in what I should call a 
miraculous way — if I believed in the miraculous. 
No more than in the miraculous do I believe 
in any divine favouritism. The Divinity that 
shapes my ends shapes also the ends of every 
living soul. 

Shall I ever be able to eat and live like other 
people ? Yes, instantly that for them or for me 
it is best that I should so live with them. 

My writing is very poor and faint — often it is 
cold. I find the effort tiring. One side of me 
longs to see the hour-hand release me. But I 
am not discouraged by those feelings as long as 


I do not yield to them. The saints have long 
ago taught me the value of dry devotion and I 
follow the counsel of one, H Quand Dieu vous 
ennuie, dites-Lui quil vous ennuie" Often the 
mere confession rouses in me a sense of the 
Divine Tenderness vivid enough to make my 
indifference seem absolutely preposterous. It 
is not really the Divine that wearies me, but 
the straining to reach that Divine through im- 
penetrable veils. Yet no perseverance is more 
surely rewarded. One reaps often where one 
needs it most and expects it least. In moments 
of apathy, of dullness or of danger, one is roused 
and cheered by gracious and loving impulses 
and by a keen realisation of that sublime king- 
dom — the Real. 

I am rather uneasy as to the lack of work in 
my present life. I began wondering whether I 
should go and offer myself for work at the 
C.O.S., but a strong impulse seems to advise 
me not to do this, or to make any other engage- 
ment of the kind till 1 am at least well enough 
to dispense with medical treatment. Yet, dis- 
trusting this idea, I determined to go next day, 
and was then brought up short by an attack of 
lumbago and neuralgia ! 

A few days later, in answer to the same 
questionings and heart-searchings, at the close 
of my " waiting time " I felt exhorted to practise, 


even in my desire to serve God, more repose and 
more trust. Crumbs of service have all last year 
been vouchsafed to me and, till I am ready for 
more, will still be vouchsafed, if I wait and 
watch and rest on the Unseen. 

A visit was paid in the autumn of 1906 to 
Hurstbourne, where, leaning over the church- 
yard gate, she looks towards her mother's grave 
and then enumerates the old familiar features of 
the landscape : 

Highest of all in the distance, the Beech 
Avenue. It is evening, a fine winter evening 
that makes a poem — a picture. Veil after veil 
most cunningly drawn over all, through which 
the copses become soft masses of feathery 
brown, every tone of brown from that of a 
withered beech-leaf to the hue of a leafless 
elm branch against a pale sky. And purple, 
dark indigo purple, the distance painted in 
cloudy blue. The colour of the meadows is 
sad green ; the streams catch the light and 
shine like long narrow spears among them. Be- 
hind this low-lying picture is a great suspended 
sweep of sky, all suffused with rosy pink. 

The mystery, the sadness, the sweetness of 
it, expressed by colours all subdued except in 
the sky beyond, is wonderful, only to be attained 


by winter and eventide together working. The 
symbol perhaps of that old age in which all 
fierce desires and passions have burnt themselves 
out, and only the glow of faith remains. 

I am installed in my new room. 1 The sense 
of sick revulsion with which I thought of it, 
lonely, meaningless, for me only, has subsided. 
The other side is that the greater space, com- 
fort, and brightness is a gift acquired by no 
choice of my own, and for which 1 have more 
reason to be thankful. I have in mind Mme. 
Swetchine's saying : " Moins nous nous en 
sommes melees, plus les circonstances rendent 
du bien." 

I feel more than ever how " contrary " I am. 
Apropos of the imprecatory Psalms, of which 
now, when the clerical world begins to condemn 
them, I begin to perceive the better side ! The 
prayers and desires for work have been met by 
weeks of great incompetency of mind and body, 
an experience that seems plainly to say, wait, 
before undertaking anything on which others 
may depend. 

I have worked through another attack of 
influenza. With me, unlike more happily con- 
stituted persons, illness affects the mind as 
much as the body. It is then that I am able 

1 At Winchester, where her sister-in-law had arranged a new 
and pleasanter lodging for her. 


to distinguish the difference between devotion 
and religion, for the one drops off and the other 
— thank Heaven — remains. Never arn I more 
conscious of the Divine Presence, if only with 
a dry matter-of-fact consciousness. I realise 
that God is coming to me in the suffering more 
truly than in devotional moments — only after- 
wards do I feel how close was the Presence, how 
sleepless the watch, and under all my emotion- 
less perception of Him remains a kind of dogged 
loyalty and unswerving conviction that His ways 
are perfect and beautiful. And why, indeed, if 
I trust Him in spite of the suffering of the world, 
should I doubt Him because of my own petty 
share ? 

In the early spring of 1907 she decided to go 
to Richmond, where she could get the treatment 
that suited her. She was ill, and the change of 
air and effort of moving brought on languor and 
nausea which made life very difficult. She could 
not at first get comfortable rooms and regretted 
her bright, fragrant lodgings in Winchester. 
The longing for a settled home, which at her 
age it seemed hard she should not have, could 
not be repressed, and she dreaded the thought of 
being seriously ill among comparative strangers i 1 

1 She was in no way hampered by want of means, and at her 
death left upwards of £10,000. 


So grumbled on the lower man. Fortun- 
ately it counts for less and less. Its moody- 
voice was drowned by fervent professions of 
faith and courage and love. I knew that it was 
well with me, that the Divine was with me all 
the time and under all was peace. 

I was moved to send for Caussade's Abandon, 
and his teaching, the formulation, as it were, of 
my own life's teaching, of my slowly developed 
religion, cheered and braced me every day. 

How excellent is this shaking and shifting for 
a temperament disposed to depend far too much 
on circumstances and conditions, to sink into 
them and be cramped by them and discomposed 
when they are removed. It is a form of slavery 
and I am always calling for freedom. 

As Deaconess Esther's " odd woman," I do 
all sorts of odd jobs in the parish. 

April 11, 1907. — I am preparing to go back 
to Winchester. I do so giving earnest thanks 
for this winter, so calm, so cheerful. Yet I 
forgot to notice in what distress and weakness 
the Vignettes was finished. What with pain 
and exhaustion I felt in too unreliable a state 
to trust myself with the proof-correcting, so 1 

paid to do it. He did it very badly, leaving 

unamended a misspelling of Leech (as Leach) 
which shocked even the publishers. 


Meanwhile I take everything more easily. I 
accept without much disquiet the failure of all 
my intentions with regard to work. I have 
learned to see that my nerves, or something in 
me on which good work depends, are too un- 
stable to allow me to assume any permanent 
post. One week excellent, the next not bad, 
the third, brain and physique shaky. The 
memory drops stitches, the wrist hardens as if 
into wood, and will hardly allow me to write. 

I came back to Winchester the end of April, 
and pacing the little kitchen garden one day I 
had one of those experiences common enough 
probably to more deserving souls. There where 
the green vegetable rows were struggling up- 
wards and the bees were humming eagerly at 
their task, I seemed to descry suddenly the 
Divine Person present and working in all and 
through all this germinating and reviving life, 
and better still to feel His unutterable tender- 
ness and love, and to perceive in all the weary, 
uneven, disappointing way, of which I felt the 
strain, this love and tenderness were working 
surely to a beneficent and beautiful end as well 
as in all this springtide resurrection round me. 
The afterglow sweetened many things. 

After this I had a summons to take J.'s girls 
to Cambridge for the May week. An uncon- 
genial one when I felt more than commonly 


ailing and unfit for outings and strange houses. 
Fortunately I had the grace not to refuse the 
service I am ever asking for. 

October 1907. — I have been glancing over and 
numbering my journals and "thought notes." 
I waver between the impression that I have 
taken a new lease of life and, I trust, of work, 
and that I am breaking up. I wonder whether 
I am fundamentally better or not — whether I 
am going to live or die. 

Yet I feel more than ever the dread of 
assuming any work, because so utter is my 
lack of confidence in the outer self of my 
physique. I am such a poor creature that I 
seem to be overpowered by physical conditions, 
but (D.G.) I am able to keep calm and look 
the experience steadily in the face." 

By January 1908 she chronicles " a wonder- 
ful improvement in spirits and energy." With 
her health completely undermined, and neuralgia 
and chronic indigestion kept at bay for the 
moment, she is still sanguine and hopeful of 
recovery, with something of the old joyousness 
that was the side she showed to the world : 

" It would seem I shall not die but live. If 
it be so, I trust more than ever that it may be 



to serve others, especially younger and less ex- 
perienced others in this rough world, in such 
ways as shall be made plain to me day by day, 
by that Kindly Light on whose direction more 
and more implicitly I depend." 

Bat she was not to live. As the year ad- 
vanced consumption came on rapidly. Realising 
how troublesome her cough was becoming, she 
put off going to her sister's house till well on 
into the summer, thinking that Herefordshire 
would be too cold. When at length she arrived, 
to her sister's surprise and grief she found her- 
self greeting a dying woman, and a few weeks 
of utter collapse saw the end. Her last illness 
was marked by the same tender and courteous 
consideration for others that had distinguished 
her life. When the food ordered brought on 
deadly nausea, she would rouse herself, as it 
appeared, to say, " Here comes my kind nurse, 
always bringing me something good," and all 
those who helped to nurse her speak of the 
unfailing patience with which she bore the 
misery of " a very, very distressing cough " and 
all the little trials of great weakness. She died 
on June 15, 1908, aged sixty years and six months, 
but it was difficult not to believe her much 


younger; not only was she alert and bright, 
but her mind and her outlook upon life were 
so far removed from those of age. She died at 
Broxwood Court, and lies in the little churchyard 
of Lyonshall in Herefordshire. 

• • • • • « 

Marie Hawker maintained great reserve con- 
cerning her notes and meditations. Their 
existence was almost unknown to those nearest 
to her, and, notwithstanding her careful ar- 
rangement, she left no instructions of any use 
to be made of them. It was not till some years 
after her death that, in response to what must 
have seemed almost a chance request, they 
were brought to light. 

She has left us the chronicle of a life 
which failed in many of its aspirations and 
efforts. Only here and there a stray word, 
written half involuntarily, alludes to the loss 
of that power of doing creative work which had 
been plucked away while she was tasting its first 
charm. Once, as her mind and pen dwell on 
the joys of Heaven, she adds a pathetic sentence, 
"And then I shall not be sorrowful any more 
because I cannot write." Her own wish had 
been to be useful, active, a factor in the lives 
of others, the bearer of a message to them. She 


was obliged to forgo her ambition, to give up 
doing work, either social or intellectual, to re- 
sign herself to a perpetual struggle with bodily 
discomfort, with despondency, impatience, want 
of faith : all the evils that chronic ill-health 

She has indeed, in spite of all failure, achieved 
the success of placing in our literature a tiny 
modicum of work which promises to be of 
permanent value. That is not given to many, 
and those numerous and prolific writers whose 
excellent stories are showered upon us, to give 
place to others as excellent — and as ephemeral 
— may envy the circumscribed triumph of the 
little books that after so many years continue 
to go into fresh editions and appear on the way 
to become classics. 

But this channel of communication with her 
kind was soon closed. It was only as a looker- 
on, a sympathiser, that she could in life serve 
her nearest and dearest, yet now that she is 
dead it seems that she may once more reach a 
wider circle, and that the words in which she 
has recorded the battle and the victory, wrung 
by her soul from apparent defeat, may still have 
their message for the souls of others. 


Ainger, Canon, 139, 151, 153, 

Andover, 25, 62, 63, 89, 194, 196 
Austen, Miss, 122, 144 

Balfour, Rt. Hon. A., 126 
— Lady Frances, 126 
Barrie, Sir J. A., 210 
Bloggs, Mr., 69, 187-90 
Butler, Mrs. Josephine, 84 

Carter, Canon C, 83 

Cecilia de Noel, 30, 106, 128-45, 

148, 160, 154, 155, 158, 159, 

161, 174, 183, 186 
Clough, Miss, 105 
Couch, Sir A. Quiller-, 120 
Craigie, Mrs., 149 
Crawford, Marion, 210 

Darmesteter, Mme., 119, 125, 

Eliot, George, 200 

Fawcett, Professor and Mrs., 

Fennell, Mr. H., 17, 18, 20, 

23, 25, 28, 29, 43, 44, 46, 48, 

59, 61, 68, 71, 190, 230, 231, 

244, 252, 262, 265-68 

Fennell, Mrs., 25, 46, 52, 56, 63, 
66, 67, 71, 209, 241-43, 245- 
47, 252 

Fraser, Elizabeth, 5, 9, 10, 11 

— ancestry, 5-10 
Fields, Mrs., 189 

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., 
83, 91, 92, 95, 117, 146, 147, 

— Miss, 84 

Gurdon, Lady Camilla Bramp- 
ton, 30, 72, 76-78 

— (Camilla), 124, 125, 136, 
245, 297 

— Sir William Brampton, 
M.P., 77, 124 

Hawker, Colonel, 3, 4, 11 

— Mrs. Lanoe, 11, 13, 16- 

— Lanoe, 4, 5, 11, 12 

— Peter, 2, 3, 22, 23, 41, 47, 
50, 55, 60, 65, 93, 197 

Home Rule, 83, 87, 94 
Hurstbourne Park, 25, 29, 72, 
77, 118, 264, 273, 278 

— Priors, 25, 90, 145, 246, 
251, 255, 262, 264, 265 267, 
269, 274, 277, 292, 297, 300 





Hutton, R. H., 138, 143, 167, 

Huxley, Professor, 74, 227, 249 

Kipling, Rudyard, 124, 210 

Lang, Andrew, 158, 159 

Macdonald, George, 83, 254 
Macleod, Rev. D., 160 
Macmillan & Co., 128, 173 
Mademoiselle Ixe, 112-28, 146- 

48, 150, 158, 171-73, 177, 

Meredith, George, 178 

Nightingale, Florence, 79 
Novikoff, Madame, 173 

Portsmouth, Eveline, Countess 
of, 29, 30, 118, 252 

Portsmouth, Earl and Countess 
of, 25, 27, 72, 149, 251, 267, 278 

Queen, The, 234, 235 

Shorthouse, J. H., 142 
Stepniak, 114, 120, 147, 172 
Stott, David, 124 

Taine, 125, 147 
Thackeray, W. M., 185, 200 
Tulloch, Principal, 139 
Turguenieff, 114, 147 

Unwin, Fisher, 116, 125, 150, 166 

volkovsky, 182 

Wallop, 30, 42, 247 
Winchester, 216, 218, 256, 261, 
269, 288, 293, 302-4 

Yonge, Miss, 183-5 

Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co 
Edinburgh <5r* London 

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